Affiliations: University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Note:  Corresponding author: Kieran O'Sullivan, Department of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Tel.: +353 61 234119; Fax: +353 61 234251; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The popularity of Irish dancing has increased enormously since the success of “Riverdance, The Show”. The evolution of Irish dance to professional status has placed increased demands on dancers, yet scant investigation of musculoskeletal pain and injury among Irish dancers has been undertaken. This review examined the evidence regarding the rate of injury among Irish dancers, and the factors associated with injury risk. METHODS: Electronic databases were searched by two independent assessors. Studies were included if they examined the rate of musculoskeletal pain or injury among Irish dancers, and/or the factors associated with musculoskeletal pain or injury among Irish dancers. Study quality was assessed using the Oxford levels of evidence scale. RESULTS: Only two retrospective studies met the eligibility criteria, with no prospective studies on injury rate having been published. These studies indicate that lower limb injuries, especially in the foot and ankle, are most common in Irish dancers. There is preliminary evidence that dancers who did not complete a warm-up and cool-down, who did not use split-shoe sneakers while training, and who perform at higher levels of competition may be at greater risk of injury. CONCLUSIONS: No high quality prospective studies of injury have been completed in Irish dance. The existing retrospective studies demonstrate that foot and ankle injuries are the most common, and some potential contributing factors to injury have been identified. However, prospective studies which evaluate these risk factors for injury, as well as common injury risk factors identified in other forms of dance, are required.