Introduction: Irish dance has evolved to become more athletically demanding, thus making the art form very hard on dancers' bodies. Irish dancers must land from difficult moves without letting their knees bend or heels touch the ground, causing large amounts of force to be absorbed by the body. Past studies have found dancers landing with a range of 4.5–6 times body weight, potentially causing high amounts of overuse injury. The majority of injuries incurred by Irish dancers are due to overuse (79.6%). The landings that occur in Irish dance have been minimally evaluated in current literature. Obtaining values of vertical ground reaction forces (GRFs) produced by Irish dancers will assist in understanding the causes of overuse injuries, fill significant gaps in the current literature, and identify which Irish dance moves should be used less frequently to possibly reduce the chance for overuse injury. Purpose: To determine vertical GRFs produced by female Irish dancers in hard and soft shoes during common movements. The purpose of this study was to determine peak force, rise rate of force, and impulse in selected Irish hard shoe and soft shoe dance movements. Materials and Methods: Sixteen female Irish dancers between 14 and 25 years of age were recruited from the 3 highest competitive levels. Each performed a warm-up, reviewed 8 common Irish dance moves, and then performed each move 3 times upon a force plate. Four moves each were performed in soft and hard shoes. GRFs were measured using a 3-dimensional force plate running at 1000 Hz. Peak force, rise rate, and vertical impulse were all calculated. It was hypothesized that the 8 moves would produce different GRFs. Results: Peak forces normalized by each dancer's body weight were significantly different across moves (F = 65.4, p < 0.01; F = 65.0, p < 0.01; and F = 67.4, p < 0.01 respectively). Years of experience was not correlated with peak force, rise rate, or impulse (p < 0.40). Conclusion: There is a large range in peak forces created by Irish dancers. Moves that have high average peak forces may have a higher risk in causing overuse injuries. All dancers should take care to limit the use of these moves in their choreography to prevent such injury.



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Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



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Irish dance, ground reaction forces, overuse injury