Pathologies: Second Toe Length

By on December 30, 2012

"Pointe" by Tyler Shields, used with permission
“Pointe” by Tyler Shields, used with permission


Each individual may have variations in the length, size and shape of his toes.  Morton’s Toe is a congenital condition in which the metatarsal of the great toe is shortened, resulting in the second toe being the longest of the five toes.  Having a longer second toe in comparison to the great toe can present a number of problems to the dancer, especially those specializing in ballet or folk dance.

Impact on dance technique:

Special care should be taken in fitting and padding pointe shoes for dancers with longer second toes.  On pointe there may be a tendency to let the weight shift toward the outer three toes, causing a sickled foot and placing strain on the ankle joint.

Of Note:

In a study comparing 30 ballet dancers and 25 folk dancers of varying second-toe length, dancers with equal or shorter second toes compared to the great toe had lower pain scores, less joint inflammation in the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, and fewer calluses on the toe.

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