Work Type




Faculty Advisor

Dr. Karin Steere


TITLE: Low Back Injuries in Male Ballet Dancers: A Review of the Literature


Purpose: Repetitive practice of motions that can require extremes for hip and lumbar spine range of motion increase injury risk for dancers. Male dancers have increased risk of lost dancing days from injury related to lifts of female dancers. This is a review of the available literature examining spine injuries in male dancers.

Methods: A literature search was performed using the keywords: male, dancer, ballet, pain, injury, and low back pain. The following databases were used: Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Pubmed, and PEDro. To expand our search, we examined references of our target papers for further relevant research. Studies were deemed relevant if they were about spine injuries and ballet dancers.

Results: There are very few studies that investigate the types and frequency of injuries in male ballet dancers. For the studies that examine male ballet dancer spine injuries, they do not provide evidence for prevention of such injuries. Overall, there are very few studies on this topic with only one systematic review in 2008. We recommend that future research focus on rehabilitation and injury prevention in male ballet dancers.

Conclusions: Despite spine injuries being common in dancers, there is no evidence based way to identify those at risk for injury and how to prevent reinjury. Future studies are needed to provide high-quality evidence for identifying those at risk for spine injuries, and on effective interventions for ballet dancers.

Clinical Relevance: As with other athletes, dancers can experience the negative effects of physical injury to their personal lives. To date, athletic injury research is mostly focused on professional sports such as football, baseball, etc despite dancers experiencing similar work participation issues with injury. This paper provides a starting point for future research into injury detection and rehabilitation in dancers.

Authors: Steere KB, Duncan A, Johnstone K, Lux E.


1. Ramkumar PN, Farber J, Arnouk J, Varner KE, McCulloch PC. Injuries in a Professional Ballet Dance Company. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science. 2016;20(1):30-37.

2. d’Hemecourt PA, Luke A. Sport-Specific Biomechanics of Spinal Injuries in Aesthetic Athletes (Dancers, Gymnasts, and Figure Skaters). Clinics in Sports Medicine. 2012;31(3):397-408. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2012.03.010.

3. Allen N, Nevill A, Brooks J, Koutedakis Y, Wyon M. Ballet Injuries: Injury Incidence and Severity Over 1 Year. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012;42(9):781-A1. doi:10.2519/jospt.2012.3893.

4. Gottschlich LM, Young CC. Spine Injuries in Dancers. Current Sports Medicine Reports (American College of Sports Medicine). 2011;10(1):40-44.

5. Hincapié CA, Morton EJ, Cassidy JD. Musculoskeletal Injuries and Pain in Dancers: A Systematic Review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2008;89(9):1819-1829. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2008.02.020.


University of Puget Sound