Prevalence and profile of musculoskeletal injuries in ballet dancers: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Toby Smith, Leigh Davies, Akbar de Medici, Allan Hakim, Fares Haddad, Alexander Macgregor

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Aim: To determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and anatomical regions which are most frequently injured in ballet dancers.

Methods: Published (AMED, CiNAHL, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, psycINFO, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library) and grey literature databases (OpenGrey, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Current Controlled Trials and the UK National Research Register Archive) were searched from their inception to 25th May 2015 for papers presenting data on injury prevalence in ballet dancers. Two reviewers independently identified all eligible papers, data extracted and critically appraised studies. Study appraisal was conducted using the CASP appraisal tool. Pooled prevalence data with 95% confidence intervals were estimated to determine period prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and anatomical regions affected.

Results: Nineteen studies were eligible, reporting 7332 injuries in 2617 ballet dancers. The evidence was moderate in quality. Period prevalence of musculoskeletal injury was 280% (95% CI: 217%-343%). The most prevalent musculoskeletal disorders included: hamstring strain (51%), ankle tendinopathy (19%) and generalized low back pain (14%). No papers explored musculoskeletal disorders in retired ballet dancers.

Conclusions: Whilst we have identified which regions and what musculoskeletal disorders are commonly seen ballet dancers. The long-term injury impact of musculoskeletal disorders in re-tired ballet dancers remains unknown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Early online date5 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Ballet dancing
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors

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