Ow! When good zumba goes bad...

By Christina McDonald

ACC received 781 claims for 'zumba-related' injuries in 2011. Photo / Thinkstock
ACC received 781 claims for 'zumba-related' injuries in 2011. Photo / Thinkstock

It is the fitness craze that has swept the world.

But Zumba has also apparently led to a spate of injuries in New Zealand - so many, in fact, that it has cost the Accident Compensation Corporation more than $780,000 in claims in the past two years.

ACC received 781 claims for "zumba-related" injuries in 2011, at a cost of $375,572.

That was a decrease on the 875 claims in 2010, which cost the corporation $405,375.

In 2009, there were just 16 zumba-related claims, worth $5629.

Zumba is a latin-inspired dance-fitness programme, created by Alberto Perez in the 90s, which is now a feature at fitness centres internationally.

The Otago Daily Times has obtained the number of claims and costs of zumba-related injuries, which ACC can only identify post-2009 on its database.

Figures relating to the 2006-2011 period show rugby (at $306,409,587) was the biggest sporting burden for ACC.

Football ($124,143,889), netball ($98,343,398), snowboarding ($31,252,522), skiing ($66,489,777), horse riding ($61,099,045), mountain biking ($23,801,427) and dancing ($23,594,600) had all led to a significant number of claims.

The most common injury in the 2006-11 period was soft tissue damage to the knee, which included bruises and sprains, with 417 claims.

Other common injuries were to the back, ankle, lower leg and neck. Less common injuries were to the face, chest and head.

Dunedin zumba instructor Emily Rutherford said she had taught classes of up to 200 people, and regularly taught classes with between 25-30 participants, and had not seen many injuries.

The 2011 decrease in the number of specific zumba claims could be a reflection of the quality of teachers and the stability of the phenomenon, she said.

"There was just a huge boom when it first started and every man and his dog claimed to be a zumba instructor."

- Otago Daily Times

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