Dance medicine and science practitioners focus predominantly on three interlinked areas - injury prevention, healthier dance practice and the development of peak performance. When working towards these goals, it can be useful to take a step back and consider the extent of the healthcare issues facing dancers that must be addressed. Injury is the key factor in this, as neither healthy dance practice and peak performance cannot be achieved without addressing the significant problem of injury occurence in the dance profession.
Instances of injury are excessively high in the dancers. Across all disciplines of dance musculoskeletal injury is common in both student and professional dancers. Pushing the body to it's limits and the evolution of evermore demanding choreography means that dance will always be a risky profession; this does not mean however that steps cannot be taken to reduce the risk.
Collecting data on dance injury can be problematic due to dancers often being reluctant to report physical problems to directors or company doctors out of fear of losing professional position or opportunity. Therefore in many studies on dance injury, anonymous self-reporting has proven more useful than company medical records, as is the case with the studies discussed below. The extent of the problem, when providing the security of anonymity to dancers, is shown to be much wider than official company records state. What follows is a brief overview of the issue according to published research.