Postural control and functional ankle stability in professional and amateur dancers

Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Aug;122(8):1602-10. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the postural control and functional ankle stability between professional and amateur dancers as well as controls.

Methods: Thirty professional dancers were compared to thirty amateur dancers and thirty controls. All participants (n=90) completed a questionnaire. Range of motion (ROM), ankle position sense and peroneal reaction time (PRT) were measured. Postural control was investigated with the Biodex Stability System (BSS) for the stable level 8 and the unstable level 2.

Results: Professional dancers showed a significantly increased plantarflexion of both feet in comparison to all other groups (P ≤ 0.017). Even amateur dancers had a significantly increased plantarflexion of both feet in comparison to controls (P ≤ 0.017). The position sense test only showed significant differences between professionals, amateurs and controls at the position of 130° for the right leg (P ≤ 0.017). The PRT showed no significant differences among all groups except for the left peroneus brevis of amateur dancers in comparison to controls (P ≤ 0.017). Professional dancers had a significant better postural control in comparison to amateurs and controls for levels 8 and 2 at all tested positions (P ≤ 0.017). In addition, professional dancers had a specific balance distribution, whereas they balanced significantly more in the antero-lateral and less in the postero-medial part of their feet in comparison with amateur dancers and controls (P ≤ 0.017).

Conclusions: Despite a greater ROM, professional dancers have a better control of postural stability due to a specific balance distribution. However, the position sense test and the PRT were not influenced by the profession.

Significance: The specific work-related demands of ankle joints did not improve all components of functional ankle stability in professional dancers. Therefore, the inclusion of proprioceptive exercises in the daily training program is highly recommended, aiming to improve functional ankle stability and thus to minimize the risk of ankle injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ankle / physiology*
  • Dancing / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Professional Competence*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Young Adult