November 2011

Jazz shoes restrict plantar flexion, may also impair muscle activation

In the moment: Footwear

Girls who take part in recreational jazz dancing may be wearing dance shoes that adversely affect muscle activation and restrict their ability to attain the optimal pointed, or plantar flexed, position while dancing, according to Australian researchers.

Investigators from the University of Sydney recruited 16 girls who wore a split sole jazz shoe, full sole jazz shoe, or jazz sneaker for dancing and performed 3D motion analysis of active plantar flexion.

Findings, e-published on October 4 by the Journal of Applied Biomechanics, showed the shoes had a significant effect on ankle plantar flexion compared with a barefoot condition.

All jazz shoes significantly restricted the midfoot plantar flexion angle compared with the barefoot condition. The split sole jazz shoe demonstrated the least restriction while the full sole jazz shoe created the most midfoot restriction along with a small restriction in metatarsophalangeal plantar flexion.

The investigators noted that such restrictions could “decrease the aesthetic of the pointed foot,” and may encourage incorrect muscle activation and otherwise impact dance performance.

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One Response to Jazz shoes restrict plantar flexion, may also impair muscle activation

  1. Robert Scott Steinberg, DPM says:

    The dance patients who present to my office mostly have plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, Achilles tendonitis, or ankle pain. Most respond well to changing to a shoe that provides some additional stability, and or improve with the addition of prescription foot orthotics . Without a doubt, available motion at some joints are limited (better controlled). But I would never suggest to my patient that there is any sort of negative trade-off, as the choice faced is being able to continue dance or having to quit. The findings of “could” and “may” do not give much value to the results of this study.

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