Incidence, mechanisms, and characteristics of injuries in pole dancers: A prospective cohort study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Medical problems of performing artists





First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID



Science & Medicine, Inc.


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)




Nicholas, J., Weir, G., Alderson, J. A., Stubbe, J. H., van Rijn, R. M., Dimmock, J. A., ... & Donnelly, C. J. (2022). Incidence, mechanisms, and characteristics of injuries in pole dancers: a prospective cohort study. Medical problems of performing artists, 37(3), 151-164. https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2022.3022


Objective: Pole dancing is a challenging physical activity. Prospective injury studies in pole dancing are lacking. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence, mechanisms, and characteristics of injuries in pole dancers. Methods: A total of 66 pole dancers from 41 studios across Australia were prospectively followed over 12 months. An intake questionnaire was administered including items on pole dancers' demographics and training characteristics. Exposure was assessed using a daily online training diary. Self-reported injury data were collected via an incident report form and subsequently coded using the Orchard Sports Injury Classification System. Injuries occurring during pole-specific and pole-related activities were included in the analyses. Results: The sample included 63 females and 3 males, mean age 32.3 ± 8.9 years and mean pole training experience 3.5 ± 2.8 years. 25 of 66 participants completed the full study. The 1-year incidence of all new injuries was 8.95 / 1,000 exposure hours (95 % CI 6.94 - 10.96), 7.65 / 1,000 hrs (95 % CI 5.79 - 9.51) for pole-specific injuries and 1.29 / 1,000 hrs (95 % CI 0.53 - 2.06) for pole-related injuries. A total of 103 injuries occurred, 62.1 % of which were sudden onset and 37.9 % gradual onset. Mechanism of onset included 54.4 % acute and 45.6 % repetitive in nature. Shoulder (20.4 %) and thigh (11.7 %, majority ham¬string) were the most reported anatomic injury sites. Non-contact mechanisms accounted for the majority of injuries (57.3 %). The most reported primary contributor to injury onset at the shoulder were manoeuvres characterised by loaded internal humeral rotation (33.3 %), and at the hamstring were manoeuvres and postures involving front splits (100.0 %). Conclusion: The findings indicate that pole dancers are at high risk for injuries. Future research is needed to understand the biomechani¬cal demand of manoeuvres and training characteristics of pole dancing (e.g., workload and recovery) to guide the development of preventative interventions, particularly targeted toward the shoulder and hamstring.



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