Can textured insoles improve ankle proprioception and performance in dancers?

J Sports Sci. 2016 Aug;34(15):1430-7. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1117120. Epub 2015 Nov 30.


With the aim of determining both the acute and the chronic effects of textured insoles on the ankle discrimination and performance ability of dancers, 60 ballet dancers from the Australian Ballet School, aged 14-19 years, were divided into three groups (two intervention groups and a control group), age- and level-matched. In the first 5 weeks (weeks 1 to 5), the first intervention group (GRP1) was asked to wear textured insoles in their ballet shoes and the second intervention group (GRP2) was not given textured insoles to wear. In the next 5 weeks (weeks 6 to 10), GRP2 was asked to wear the same type of textured insoles and GRP1 did not wear the textured insoles. The control group (CTRL) did not wear textured insoles during the whole 10 weeks. All participants were tested preintervention, after 5 weeks and after 10 weeks for ankle discrimination score (AUC scores). Dance performance was assessed by 5-7 dance teachers. Pre-to-post change in AUC scores was significantly greater for the groups wearing insoles than for the controls (P = .046) and the size of pre-to-post changes did not differ between the two intervention groups (P = .834). Significant correlation was found between ankle discrimination score and performance scores, using the textured insoles (r = .412; P = .024). In conclusion, the stimulation to the proprioceptive system arising from textured insoles worn for five weeks was sufficient to improve the proprioceptive ability and performance ability of ballet dancers.

Keywords: Dancers; performance; proprioception; textured insoles.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Dancing / physiology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Shoes*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult