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Second-Toe Length and Forefoot Disorders in Ballet and Folk Dancers

Haluk H. Oztekin Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Baskent University, Izmir, Turkey.

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Hakan Boya Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Baskent University, Izmir, Turkey.

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Mesut Nalcakan Emergency Department, State Hospital Karsiyaka, Izmir, Turkey.

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Ozal Ozcan Department of Orthopedics, Buca Tip Merkezi, Izmir, Turkey.

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Background: Although there is no ideal foot type for classical dancers, second-toe length seems to be a factor in the etiology of foot disorders in ballet dancers.

Methods: We investigated the relationship between second-toe length and foot disorders in 30 ballet dance students and 25 folk dance students. Second-toe length in relation to the hallux (longer or equal/shorter), hallux deformities, first metatarsophalangeal joint inflammation, number of callosities, and daily pain scores were recorded in both groups and compared.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference in toe length between the two groups (P > .05). Ballet dancers with equal-length or shorter second toes had lower pain scores, less first metatarsophalangeal joint inflammation, and fewer callosities in their feet compared with dancers with longer second toes.

Conclusions: Second-toe length seems to be a factor in the development of forefoot disorders in classical ballet dancers but not folk dancers. Dancers who have equal-length or shorter second toes in relation to the hallux may have fewer forefoot disorders as dance professionals. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(5): 385–388, 2007)

Corresponding author: Haluk H. Oztekin, MD, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Baskent University, 6371 Sokak No: 34 Bostanli, Karsiyaka, Izmir 35540, Turkey.