A few years ago, The Irish Medical Times completed a study reporting the range of ankle injuries found in Irish Dancers. The research was completed at the Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin and the results were determined based on questionnaires and MRI* scans from a professional troupe of both male and female dancers.
The study concluded two major points: The first being that Dancers suffer from a range of ankle injuries as a consequence of over-use. The injuries noted include Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, bone oedema and calcaneocuboid joint degeneration. The second point is that that many dancers (half of those studied) continue to perform despite their injuries. The research in further detail will be presented at the University of Limerick later this week. (Stay tuned for further updates).
The results, while not surprising, bring up some interesting issues. The first thing that stuck me, which many of you will be happy to learn, is that Irish Dancers were compared to and acknowledged as elite athletes. This is important point because it recognizes how physical Irish Dance is and ties into the fact that many dancers perform and compete when injured. The latter point made me think about competitive dancers. Why do people compete/perform when injured? Is there pressure? Let us know what you think! And remember, the poll is completely anonymous unless, of course, you leave a comment.
*An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a medical machine used to help visualize the structure and function of the body.
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