Fatigue in ballet dancers may lead to injury, particularly in the lower extremities. However, few studies have investigated the effects of fatigue on ballet dancers’ performance and movement patterns. Thus, the current study examines the effect of fatigue on the balance, movement pattern, and muscle activities of the lower extremities in ballet dancers. Twenty healthy, female ballet dancers performed releve on demi-pointe before and after fatigue. The trajectory of the whole body movement and the muscle activities of the major lower extremity muscles were recorded continuously during task performance. The results show that fatigue increases the medial-lateral center of mass (COM) displacement and hip and trunk motion, but decreases the COM velocity and ankle motion. Moreover, fatigue reduces the activities of the hamstrings and tibialis anterior, but increases that of the soleus. Finally, greater proximal hip and trunk motions are applied to compensate for the effects of fatigue, leading to a greater COM movement. Overall, the present findings show that fatigue results in impaired movement control and may therefore increase the risk of dance injury.
Cheng-Feng Lin, Wan-Chin Lee, Yi-An Chen, and Bih-Jen Hsue are with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan. Cheng-Feng Lin is also with the Institute of AlliedHealth Sciences, College of Medicine, National Cheng KungUniversity, Tainan, Taiwan.