KNEE TORQUE KINETICS DURING HIGHLAND DANCING

  • R.J. Johnstone
  • T. Bauer
  • J. McAuliffe

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to measure torque variations in the knees of malaligned Highland dancers during the early and late stages of a six step Highland Fling. A secondary objective is to measure variations in knee malalignment at impact, maximum flexion and extension. The most frequently occurring injuries in dance involve the knee (Arnheim, 1980; Schafle, Requa & Garrick, 1990; Solomon & Micheli, 1986). More specifically, knee injuries in dance develop largely from knee malalignrnent (Arnheim, 1980; Clarkson & Skrinar, 1988; Clippinger-Robertson, 1987; Ende & Wickstrom, 1982; Reid, 1988; Solomon & Micheli, 1986; Teitz, 1987; Watkins & Clarkson, 1990). Quantifying knee torque due to malalignment provides a measure to better understand malalignment and the prevention of injury due to incorrect dance technique. Seven subjects, dancing a six step Highland Fling, were video taped from both a frontal and oblique view (45 degrees to the frontal view) while performing on a force platform. Video analysis provided knee displacement measures from both frontal and oblique views. Ground reaction forces (GRF) provided the force component for knee torque calculations. Knee malalignment displacements at impact, maximum flexion and extension were measured from the oblique view. Results were analyzed using a single subject baseline design and indicated mixed trends in knee torque, knee malalignment, and knee flexion from early to late stages of the dance. The decrease in knee torque is explained by a decrease, therefore, malalignment could have increased to aid in the absorption of shock. Maximum knee malalignment occurred at maximum knee flexion in the last step for all subjects and for five subjects in the first step. Increased knee malalignment measures, in the oblique plane, demonstrate potential for injury unless the dancer's technique and lower extremity alignment is corrected. The research utilizes Highland dancers, however the research concentration is on dancing in the turned-out position, a position common to other dance forms, such as ballet, jazz, and modern dance.