The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the standard turnout position on foot posture and its association with overuse musculoskeletal injury in professional contemporary dancers.
Twelve contemporary dancers were recruited from two leading professional dance companies in the United Kingdom.
Three assessment tools were used in this study: a clinical tracing of the foot, the Foot Posture Index (version 6), and a dance background/injury questionnaire.
The clinical tracing tool involved the quasi-static method for measurement of angle of gait and angle of turnout.
The Foot Posture Index was used to classify foot posture. This measurement tool recognises the multi-segmented nature of the foot and uses a series of scores based on the Likert scale, with reference values ranging from -12 (severely supinated) to 12 (severely pronated).
All of the measurements were recorded three times and were undertaken by the same investigator.
Before data collection, each dancer was required to perform a daily warm-up.
The approach in this study focused on two key assumptions – a standing, weightbearing position was selected because it provides information about the functional closed kinetic relationship of the lower limb, including the foot.
Second, although foot position provides evidence of how it may affect alignment of the limb, it also supports the need for standardisation.
An inverse relationship was demonstrated between age at training commencement and total reported injuries.
This finding indicates that dancers who started their training at an earlier age accrued fewer injuries.
The Foot Posture Index findings showed that most of the dancers had a neutral foot posture in base of gait, but there was a marked tendency toward pronation when they moved into turnout.
The effects of subtalar joint pronation at the ankle, knee, hips, and spine are important when considering the frequent locality of the reported injuries.
The results demonstrate a relationship between number of injuries and change in foot posture that accompanies turnout.
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