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Calculation of Muscle Loading and Joint Contact Forces during the Rock Step in Irish Dance

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A biomechanical model for the analysis of dancers and their movements is described. The model consisted of 31 segments, 35 joints, and 539 muscles, and was animated using movement data obtained from a three-dimensional optical tracking system that recorded the motion of dancers. The model was used to calculate forces within the muscles and contact forces at the joints of the dancers in this study. Ground reaction forces were measured using force plates mounted in a sprung floor. The analysis procedure is generic and can be applied to any dance form. As an exemplar of the application process an Irish dance step, the rock, was analyzed. The maximum ground reaction force found was 4.5 times the dancer's body weight. The muscles connected to the Achilles tendon experienced a maximum force comparable to their maximal isometric strength. The contact force at the ankle joint was 14 times body weight, of which the majority of the force was due to muscle contraction. It is suggested that as the rock step produces high forces, and therefore the potential to cause injury, its use should be carefully monitored.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Art and Design, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, United Kingdom. [email protected]

Publication date: 01 March 2010

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