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Second-toe length and forefoot disorders in ballet and folk dancers.

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.

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