Have you jumped on the Zumba train yet? If so, we wouldn’t be surprised as it was named the world’s largest branded fitness program earlier this year. But if this dance craze is your favorite way to shed pounds and chisel a sexy figure, you may want to be cautious with your next step as doctors have recently been reporting a growing number of Zumba-related injuries.
According to a recent report from TODAY, neurologist and Consumer Reports medical advisor, Dr. Orly Avitzur, has been seeing a number of injuries related to Zumba, ranging from ankle sprains, shin splints, and heel spurs to plantar fasciitis, hip bursitis, muscle strings and even knee problems that require surgery.
Zumba started off as a few dance classes offered by owner Alberto Perez, and quickly blossomed into a fitness empire. What began as a small business in Cali, Columbia is now a worldwide dancing sensation that boasts fun, Latin-inspired aerobic classes for the purpose of getting in shape and having fun at the same time.
While Zumba may be an exciting way to workout, it can be dangerous, as Dr. Avitzur explains. “There’s so much side-to-side movement that you really need to synchronize your hips, your knees, your feet and your ankles so they’re going in the same direction. If you move in one direction and the joint doesn’t go with you in that direction, it’s a setup for an injury.”
In other words, if you’re not the most coordinated person, Zumba may be hazardous to your health. Avitzur, who takes Zumba three to four times a week, agrees saying that those who are new to this style of high intensity dance classes are ‘particularly susceptible’ to getting hurt.
Dr. Josh Umbehr, MD, a physician in Wichita, Kansas, hasn’t seen any Zumba-specific injuries in his practice as of yet, but he has seen a number from Insanity and P90X. “In general, I see injuries when people are getting back into an exercise program, such as a couch to 5k or marathon, weight lifting routine, weekend warrior activity, etc.,” he said. ” A lot of injuries like those related to Zumba come from using your body in a way that it’s not used to.”
Fifty-four-year-old OB/GYN, Dr. Connie Young, is among the many who have suffered a Zumba injury. In her second class, she noticed a “twinge” in her lower back, which led to her limping around for the next two days.
“The class was primarily middle-aged women like myself and it seemed like everybody in the class had suffered some kind of injury due to Zumba,” she said.
After multiple physicians began noticing an increase in these types of injuries, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons was prompted to send an email survey to gauge just how common they really were. They found that many doctors are in fact seeing a steady stream of Zumba injuries, including ankle sprains and fractures, torn meniscus, overuse injuries and more.
If you’re a Zumba fan, this doesn’t mean you should drop the sport altogether; it just means you should be more careful. Some simple ways to avoid getting injured include making sure you have a proper pair of shoes, ensuring there’s plenty of space between you and the people around you, slowing down or stopping if you notice any pain or discomfort, and staying limber between classes with plenty of stretching.