December 1, 2013

A Survey of Musculoskeletal Injuries Associated with Zumba

Jill Inouye MD; Andrew Nichols MD; Gregory Maskarinec PhD; and Chien-Wen Tseng MD, PhD


Zumba is a highly popular Latin-inspired dance fitness program with ~14 mil- lion participants in 150 countries. However, there is little-published data on the rates or types of injuries among participants. We surveyed a convenience sample of 49 adults (100% participation) in 5 Zumba classes in Hawai‘i. Participants described any prior Zumba-related injuries. We used t-tests and logistic regression to determine if participant demographics or intensity of Zumba classes were associated with injuries. Participants were mostly female (82%), averaged 43.9 years of age (range 19 to 69 years), and took an average of 3 classes/week (1-2 hours/class) for an average of 11 months. Fourteen participants (29%) reported 21 prior Zumba-related injuries. Half of the 14 injured sought care from medical providers for their injuries. Of the 21 injuries, the most frequently injured sites were knees (42%), ankles (14%), and shoulders (14%). Participants with Zumba-related injuries did not differ significantly in age, months of Zumba, or hours/class compared to those who did not experience injuries. However, participants who reported injuries took significantly more classes/week (3.8 versus 2.7 classes, P = .006) than non- injured participants. In logistic regression, taking more classes/week remained significantly associated with injuries (odds ratio 3.6 [95% confidence interval 1.5 – 8.9, P = .006]) after controlling for age, gender, months of Zumba, and hours/class. Given Zumba’s health benefits, our finding that 1 in 4 Zumba participants have experienced injuries indicates the need to improve Zumba routines, instructor training, and health provider counseling to reduce injury risk.

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