Inequalities in Dancers
Cailee Zindler
A.R. MacNeill Secondary
Floor Location : M 212 H

The idea for my project came from my own physical injuries. Many of my dance injuries were not due to specific trauma, but occurred randomly, like collapsing ankles causing sprains with no apparent cause, accept possibly over working myself. The majority of dance injuries occur in the lower body. A search of the literature revealed little in the way of documented methods used for assessing dance injury risk. I decided to do a pilot study of some simple tests that may be of use for assessing the risk of injury in adolescent dancers. rn The tests consisted of bilateral heel raise, unilateral heel raise, and lateral bending/pelvic shift. The heel raise was used for evaluating height and when done unilaterally for stability as well. The left heel and right were compared to look for differences. Lateral pelvic shift was measured and left and right were compared. My goal was to find simple ways to compare left and right imbalances, with the expectation that if imbalances were present this would lead to injury.rn The test subjects were 23 experienced (not novice) adolescent dancers. All tests showed promise for possible screening test for dance injuries, especially that lateral pelvic shift and unilateral heel raise.rn In the bilateral heel raise 6 of 23 were asymmetrical in heel raise heights with 3 of these being close to double or more of the standard deviation. In the unilateral heel raise 7 of 23 had asymmetry between left and right heel raise heights, with 5 being close to double or more of the standard deviation. The most significant aspect of the unilateral heel raise was the inability of the dancers to balance on one leg with their heel raised. In fact only 28% of the dancers could satisfactorily complete this test/task. This has significant implications for both injury production and dance performance.rn The lateral bending/lateral pelvic shift test 8 of 23 dancers had significant asymmetry in their pelvic shift. This was a surprising number considering the age and fitness of the individuals. In fact two of the dancers displayed paradoxical movement with the lateral shift occurring in the reverse (atypical) direction, a potential sign of marked instability.rn These pilot tests showed enough promise that further study to see if the asymmetries have any correlation to injury rates, and could serve as markers for better training and prevention.