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Ground Reaction Forces in Ballet Dancers Landing in Flat Shoes versus Pointe Shoes

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Reports in the literature suggest an abundance of lower extremity injuries in ballet dancers; however, few studies have identified the underlying causes of these injuries. Excessive ground reaction forces and shoe type are two potential contributing factors. Eighteen collegiate female ballet majors volunteered for this study. Each participant performed 12 trials of a basic ballet jump, six trials in flat shoes and 6 trials in pointe shoes, landing on a force plate. Ground reaction force (Newtons) and jump height (centimeters) were assessed for each trial. The mean ground reaction force and jump height for each shoe condition was used for statistical analysis. Two dependent t-tests were conducted to determine differences between the shoe types, one for ground reaction force and one for jump height. Alpha level was set at p < .05. We found that the ground reaction force was significantly higher when landing in flat shoes than in pointe shoes (p = .003). There was no significant difference in jump height between the two shoe conditions. This leads us to believe that the increase in ground reaction force was produced primarily by the shoe type.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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