Harkness Center for Dance Injuries Research
NYU Langone’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries was founded to provide the healthcare and dance communities with sound, up-to-date medical information. Our center’s staff have published and presented several groundbreaking studies in the areas of epidemiology, metabolism, dance injuries, biomechanics, and rehabilitation. We are internationally recognized for setting standards in injury reporting and functional screening for dancers. Members of our staff have served on the editorial board of the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science and on the research committees of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, the Performing Arts Medicine Association, the American Physical Therapy Association, and Dance/USA.
We have also developed a standardized injury-reporting process, the International Performing Arts Injury Reporting System (IPAIRS), designed to collect screening and injury data in an effort to measure utilization of healthcare services, reduce injury risks, and improve both clinical outcomes and prevention efforts.
Biomechanics Research Laboratory
Our Biomechanics Research Laboratory is equipped with an 8-camera high-speed digital motion analysis system, dual-force plates, 16-channel electromyography, Biodex isokinetic dynamometry, and a NeuroCom® Balance Master® system and inertial motion units. Support is provided by The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.
Research Investigations in Dance Medicine
Our research program executes scientifically sound studies that address current topics in the field of dance medicine. Some of our key investigations focus on epidemiology, biomechanics, and clinical outcomes.
The following are some of our research areas of interest in the epidemiology of dance-related injuries:
- dance concussion epidemiology, knowledge and behaviors, and normative baseline values
- multivariate analysis of the epidemiology of dance injuries, considering intrinsic, extrinsic, and situational factors using IPAIRS
- prevention of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in dance and sports
- emerging science and technologies for the Standard Measures Consensus Initiative of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science
- analysis of ergonomic factors affecting dance injury rates
- multisite and multiyear analysis of the effects of exposure and periodization on injury rates
We investigate the biomechanics of dancer performance and injury in the following areas:
- prevention of injury through analysis of the biomechanical impact of jump landings, inclined surfaces, shoe–floor interface, and fatigue
- spine and midfoot modeling to compare movement quality and triaxial range of motion between groups and conditions during functional tasks
- task-loading progressions to direct rehabilitation
- the effect of our pointe-readiness training program on alignment, balance, and jump power
Our research also focuses on ways to obtain efficient and optimal clinical outcomes for dancers:
- functional outcomes in dance: return to function after physical therapy for common operative and nonoperative dance injuries
- validation of dance-specific outcomes instruments, such as apps that collect dancer-reported function
- effects of manual therapy intervention, therapeutic exercise, and self-efficacy on recovery duration
- adolescent concerns, including mental health; skill progressions such as pointe-readiness, upper extremity weight–bearing movement, and partnering; and training adaptations related to growth factors
- returning to dance after os trigonum excision
- returning to dance after intramedullary tibial nail fixation
- iliopsoas and anterior hip pain syndromes in dancers: incidence, clinical findings, treatment protocol, and results of treatment
- evaluation and management of flexor hallucis longus tenosynovitis and tendinitis
We also conduct research on best teaching practices for dance educators and healthcare practitioners, to help them better educate their dance students and dancer patients on ways to maintain their health and wellbeing.