The Influence of Second Toe and Metatarsal Length on Stress Fractures at the Base of the Second Metatarsal in Classical Dancers Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Stress fractures at the base of the second metatarsal frequently occur in female classical dancers. There is a strong belief that a foot shape in which the first metatarsal or toe is shorter than the second metatarsal or toe increases the risk of this injury in dancers. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence to support this theory. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of the relative length difference between the first and second metatarsals and first and second toes on the frequency of stress fractures at the base of the second metatarsal in elite, female classical dancers. METHODS: Both feet of 50 elite female classical dancers were measured for length differences between the first and second toes and first and second metatarsals. Retrospective analysis of dancers' medical histories revealed 17 feet with stress injury and 83 without. The mean of the difference between the metatarsal and toe length for the stress-injury group was compared to that of the control group. RESULTS: No difference between the groups was identified for first and second toe length difference (p = 0.865) and the relative difference between the ends of the first two metatarsals (p = 0.815). CONCLUSIONS: Dancers who had a stress injury at the base of the second metatarsal displayed similar variances in the two independent variables as dancers who had not had such an injury.

publication date

  • October 2007