Dr Roisin Cahalan
Lecturer Physiotherapy

Keywords: Musculoskeletal pain, dance, practice education

Dr. Roisin Cahalan graduated with a 1.1 Honours Degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Limerick in 2008 and has worked in many settings in the private and public sector in the intervening years. Her main area of interest is musculoskeletal physiotherapy in dancers and athletes. Dr. Cahalan was a professional Irish dancer in Riverdance, the Show prior to embarking on her physiotherapy studies, working as both troupe and lead dancer. Her PhD completed in 2014 examined musculoskeletal pain and injury in elite adult Irish dancers. This thesis was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Kieran O'Sullivan from UL and Prof. Peter O'Sullivan from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She has recently concluded a one year prospective study comparing the biopsychosocial causes of pain and injury in a variety of dance styles including elite adult and adolescent Irish dancers, contemporary and ballet dancers. In this project Dr Cahalan collaborated with several elite Irish and international dance organisations including Dance UK, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance London, Ballet Ireland, and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance here in UL.

Dr Cahalan is also collaborating with researchers from PESS, IWAMD and the University of Roehampton investigating disordered eating in dancers, and a further collaboration with PESS and the IWAMD is examining the lower limb biomechanical features of Irish and contemporary dancers. She is involved in a number of studies examining injury surveillance and screening in a variety of athletic populations including rugby union (in conjunction with PESS and the IRFU), endurance athletes and male and female GAA players.
Dr Cahalan lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate level on the Physiotherapy programme in UL and is the Course Director for the structured Masters by Research offered by the Faculty of Education and Health Science. She is also undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship at UL, and is a member of the Committee for Teaching and Learning in the Department of Clinical Sciences. Dr Cahalan also teaches and adjudicates Irish dancing and operates a private physiotherapy practice seeing predominantly patients with musculoskeletal complaints.


Cahalan, R., O'Sullivan, K., Purtill, H. Bargary N., Ni Bhriain O. and O'Sullivan, P. (2015).   ‘Inability to perform due to pain/injury in elite adult Irish dance: A prospective investigation of contributing factors’, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, In print.

Cahalan, R., O'Sullivan, K., Purtill, H. and O'Sullivan, P. (2015) 'A cross-sectional study of elite adult Irish dancers: Biopsychosocial traits, pain & injury', Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 19(1), 31-43. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.19.1.31. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jmrp/jdms/2015/00000019/00000001/art00004. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jmrp/jdms/2013/00000017/00000004/art00002

Cahalan, R., O'Sullivan, K., Purtill, H. and O'Sullivan, P. (2014). Foot and ankle pain and injuries in elite adult Irish dancers. Medical Problems of Performing Artist, 29(4) 198-206. http://www.sciandmed.com/mppa/journalviewer.aspx?issue=1206&article=2067

Cahalan, R. and O'Sullivan, K. (2013a) 'Injury in Professional Irish Dancers', Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 17(4),150-158. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.17.4.150.

Cahalan, R. and O'Sullivan, K. (2013) 'Job Satisfaction of Professional Irish Dancers: Implications for Performer Health and Well-being', Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 17(4), 139-149. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.17.4.139 http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jmrp/jdms/2013/00000017/00000004/art00001


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