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Influence of Turnout on Foot Posture and Its Relationship to Overuse Musculoskeletal Injury in Professional Contemporary Dancers

A Preliminary Investigation

Sonja N. Cimelli Wales Centre for Podiatric Studies, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.

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 BSc(Hons)
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Sarah A. Curran Wales Centre for Podiatric Studies, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.

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 PhD, BSc(Hons)

Background:

The angle of turnout is thought to predispose professional dancers to overuse musculoskeletal injuries of the lower limb; yet, the influence of angle of turnout on foot posture is currently unknown.

Methods:

Twelve professional contemporary dancers (five women and seven men; mean age, 26.8 years) were recruited. The angle of gait and angle of turnout were measured using a quasi-static clinical tracing method. Foot posture was assessed in the base of gait and angle of turnout using the Foot Posture Index. Each dancer completed a dance history and injury questionnaire.

Results:

The results show a tendency toward a pronated foot posture (mean, 9°) in the angle of turnout position. A significant relationship was noted between the Foot Posture Index and angle of turnout (ρ = 0.933–0.968, P < .01) and between the number of reported injuries and change in foot posture in the angle of turnout (ρ = 0.789, P < .01) (right foot only). Twenty-eight injuries were reported; male dancers experienced a mean of 2.8 injuries and females a mean of 1.6 injuries. An inverse relationship was noted between age at training initiation and total reported injuries (r =−0.867, P < .01). All of the dancers reported a history of injury to the spine or lower limb, and 9 of the 12 reported an injury within the previous 12 months.

Conclusions:

Turnout is one of the most fundamental aspects of dance technique. This study suggests a trend toward pronation in angle of turnout and a link to lower-limb musculoskeletal injury. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(1): 25–33, 2012)

Corresponding author: Sarah A. Curran, PhD, BSc(Hons), Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Western Ave, Cardiff, CF5 2YB, United Kingdom. (E-mail: scurran@uwic.ac.uk)