The effect of textured ballet shoe insoles on ankle proprioception in dancers

Phys Ther Sport. 2016 Jan:17:38-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 30.


Background: Impaired ankle inversion movement discrimination (AIMD) can lead to ankle sprain injuries. The aim of this study was to explore whether wearing textured insoles improved AIMD compared with barefoot, ballet shoes and smooth insoles, among dancers.

Methods: Forty-four adolescent male and female dancers, aged 13-19, from The Australian Ballet School were tested for AIMD while barefoot, wearing ballet shoes, smooth insoles, and textured insoles.

Results: No interaction was found between the four different footwear conditions, the two genders, or the two levels of dancers in AIMD (p > .05). An interaction was found between the four different footwear conditions and the three tertiles when tested in ballet shoes (p = .006). Although significant differences were found between the upper tertiles and the lower tertiles when tested with ballet shoes, barefoot and with smooth insoles (p < .001; p < .001; p = .047, respectively), when testing with textured insoles dancers in the lower tertile obtained similar scores to those obtained by dancers in the upper tertile (p = .911).

Conclusion: Textured insoles improved the discrimination scores of dancers with low AIMD, suggesting that textured insoles may trigger the cutaneous receptors in the plantar surface, increasing the awareness of ankle positioning, which in turn might decrease the chance of ankle injury.

Keywords: Ankle discrimination; Dancers; Injuries; Proprioception.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ankle Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Dancing / injuries*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Shoes*
  • Young Adult