Musculoskeletal demands on flamenco dancers: a clinical and biomechanical study

The flamenco dancer acts on the floor like a drummer. The percussive footwork and vibration patterns created during dancing impose unusual demands on the musculoskeletal system. This study investigated the clinical and biomechanical aspects of this task. Using the electrodynogram and skin-mounted accelerometers, foot pressures as well as hip and knee vibrations were recorded in 10 female dancers after a thorough clinical evaluation. A health questionnaire was also distributed to 29 dancers. Foot pressures and acceleration data reveal the percussive nature of the dance. Some clinical findings, like calluses, are related to pressure distribution. Urogenital disorders, as well as back and neck pain, may be related to the vibrations generated by the flamenco dance form. The hip joint seems to absorb most of the impacts. “Vibration-pressure” diagrams are suggested as a useful tool for evaluating a dancer’s biomechanical behavior, as well as the effect of floors and footwear on this behavior.

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