Female ballet dancers are often plagued by lower-extremity injuries. But why? Researchers in the U.S. and Australia recently analyzed studies published in the last 11 years to determine common risk factors for hip, knee, ankle and foot injuries in elite-level dancers. Here's what they found:
- Alignment issues
- Poor movement control in the lower back and pelvis
- Incorrect contraction of the deepest abdominal muscles
- Weakness in the lower extremities
- Insufficient aerobic fitness
Interestingly enough, long training hours and hypermobile hips and ankles were identified as injury risk factors specifically for recreational ballet dancers, but not those at the more experienced level. It's likely that, to advance to the next level, professionals have adjusted to a heavier schedule and have learned to balance hypermobility with strength to safely support their dancing.