Honors Theses


Kimberly Bigelow, Ph.D.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Lower extremity injuries are highly prevalent within the Irish dance population, yet research surrounding potential determinants is scarce. Many movements, particularly jumps, in Irish dance are constituted by a one-foot landing with the ankle in a plantarflexed position and the knee fully extended. This unique landing technique is contrary to other forms of dance, such as ballet, where landings typically allow for some knee flexion in a plie-like position. Subsequently, this aesthetic constraint requires large amounts of strength and balance, in addition to forcing the structures of the foot and ankle to absorb the entire shock of the landing. This study aims to determine the effect that fatigue has on landing forces following the 360 spin move, which is characterized by the dancer jumping off the ground from their lead foot, making a full 360° turn in the air before landing on the opposite foot. Since fatigue has been shown to play a role in ground reaction force, in addition to overall center of pressure, this study focuses on establishing how the lower extremities react when trying to stop the turning motion following this jump. Through having competitive female Irish dancers perform the 360 spin under both fatigued and non-fatigued trials with all landings taking place on a force plate, it was found that fatigue causes a significantly higher downward force on the left foot, indicating that this side may be more greatly affected by fatigue. The results from this study can direct future research in establishing additional injury risks associated with the Irish dance technique in order to correctly aim injury prevention measures.

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Undergraduate research