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Functional turnout in ballet involves maximal external rotation through the lower limb kinetic chain. Hip external rotation, is considered the primary contributor of functional turnout. However, dancers will tend to increase their functional turnout angle through additional tibiofemoral external rotation and pronation of the foot/ankle complex. Hip external rotation measures in functional turnout has received extensive examination in dance science. However, the relationship between the ‘below the hip' assessments with functional turnout is poorly understood. We hypothesis that dancers with greater passive external tibiofemoral rotation (pTFR) and/or pronated stance will have a greater functional turnout angle.

Nineteen female university-level classical ballet and modern dance students (mean age 17.9 ± 0.9 years) volunteered in this descriptive correlational study. All dancers were injury free and signed a consent form prior to data collection. Navicular drop, Foot Posture Index (FPI), pTFR and functional turnout were measured for the participants' right and left lower limbs. Measures of pronation were conducted with the dancer standing in parallel and turnout. All clinical measures demonstrated excellent reliability, ICC 0.90-0.93. A multiple linear regression model was used to estimate the amount of variance in functional turnout which can be explained by the measured variables.

The stepwise multiple linear regression model analyses revealed a weak relationship between pTFR and functional turnout, with the latter accounting for approximately 19.0 % variance of functional turnout. Spearman's rho correlation analysis revealed a moderate negative relationship between pTFR and FPI in functional turnout (ρ = - 0.47, P = 0.043). Suggesting dancers with limited tibiofemoral rotation recruited pronation about the foot/ankle complex to further increase their functional turnout angle.

Our findings suggest dancers used variable amounts of motion at the anatomical locations depending on their functional and anatomical capability. Ongoing research would benefit from in situ measures of dancers' lower leg contributions to functional turnout such as that provided by modern three-dimensional biomechanical evaluations

Publication Date



Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Dance | Podiatry


Originally published as Sarah L. Carter, Alan R. Bryant, and Luke S. Hopper (2017) Lower-Leg and Foot Contributions to Turnout in University-Level Female Ballet Dancers. Poster presented at the realise 2017. Austrasian Podiatry Conference, May 24-25, Melbourne.

Lower leg and foot contributions to turnout in university-level female ballet dancers: A preliminary investigation