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01-12-2019 | Research | Uitgave 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2019

An analysis of the foot in turnout using a dance specific 3D multi-segment foot model

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Sarah L. Carter, Alan R. Bryant, Luke S. Hopper
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-019-0318-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Recent three-dimensional (3D) kinematic research has revealed foot abduction is the strongest predictor of standing functional and forced turnout postures. However, it is still unknown how the internal foot joints enable a large degree of foot abduction in turnout. The primary purpose of this study was to use a dance specific multi-segment foot model to determine the lower leg and foot contributions to turnout that female university-level ballets use to accentuate their turnout.


Eighteen female dance students (mean age, 18.8 ± 1.6 years) volunteered for this study. Retro-reflective markers were attached to the dancers’ dominant foot. Each dancer performed three repetitions of functional turnout, forced turnout and ten consecutive sautés in first position. Repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni adjustments for the multiple comparisons were used to determine the kinematic adjustments, hindfoot eversion, midfoot and forefoot abduction, navicular drop (i.e. lowering of the medial longitudinal arch) and first metatarsophalangeal joint abduction between natural double leg up-right posture and the first position conditions.


Hindfoot eversion (4.6°, p < 0.001) and midfoot abduction (2.8°, p < 0.001) significantly increased in functional turnout compared to the natural double leg up-right posture. Thirteen dancers demonstrated increased first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) abduction in forced turnout, however no statistically significant increase was found. Navicular drop during sautés in first position significantly increased by 11 mm (p < 0.001) compared to the natural double leg up-right posture.


Our findings suggest dancers do pronate, via hindfoot eversion and midfoot abduction in both functional and forced turnout, however, no immediate association was found between forced turnout and first MTPJ abduction. Foot pronation does play a role in achieving turnout. Further prospective research on in situ measures of the lower limb in turnout and injury surveillance is required to improve our understanding of the normal and abnormal dance biomechanics.

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