Biomechanics of the Foot in Dance: A Literature Review
Abstract:In any form of dance, great strain is placed on the lower extremity and the strong but sensitive foot. A large percentage of injuries to dancers involve the foot and ankle. Understanding the structure, biomechanics, and physics of the lower extremity helps to diagnose and evaluate the mechanics behind these injuries.
The lower extremity function is complicated and needs to be studied carefully to understand its laws and principles. What often happens when injury occurs is that the dancer is not satisfying the natural requirements of movement through the joints. For example, her relevé is causing sickling and unstable foot positions because the forefoot is not strong enough and the leg external rotation and hip joint muscular support are not simultaneous with the heel raise. In the opposite direction, when the dancer is executing plié, the outcome of poor control of a weakened foot is strain on the passive supporting structures, such as the plantar ligaments, joint capsules, and plantar fascia. This leads to faulty bone alignment, increased bone load, and risk of overuse syndromes in various tissues.