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Lower-Leg and Foot Contributions to Turnout in University-Level Female Ballet Dancers

A Preliminary Investigation

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  • 1 Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Division, School of Allied Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.
  • | 2 Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.
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Background:

Turnout in ballet is produced through summation of the joint structure characteristics and ranges of motion at the hip, knee, ankle, and foot. Contributions of the hip joint to functional turnout in dancers have received extensive examination, whereas little is known about contributions from the knee, ankle, and foot. The aim of this study was to explore the nonhip components of turnout to dancers' functional turnout in first position by assessing passive external tibiofemoral rotation and active measures of foot pronation, ie, navicular drop and Foot Posture Index.

Methods:

Nineteen female university-level dance students aged 16 to 19 years participated in this descriptive correlational study. External tibiofemoral rotation, navicular drop, Foot Posture Index, and functional turnout were measured for the participants' right and left legs.

Results:

Regression analyses revealed a weak relationship between passive external tibiofemoral rotation and functional turnout. Correlation analysis revealed a moderate negative relationship between passive tibiofemoral external rotation and the Foot Posture Index in functional turnout.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that the lower leg does contribute to dancers' overall position of functional turnout. However, current methods are not useful in predicting a dancer's lower-leg contribution and alignment in functional turnout in first position.

Corresponding author: Sarah L. Carter, MSc, BPodM, Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Division M422, School of Allied Health, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley WA 6009, Australia. (E-mail: sarah.carter@research.uwa.edu.au)