European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 9 - Number 2
Eur J Anat, 9 (2): 99-102 (2005)

Incidence of biphalangeal fifth toes in South Indian fetuses, children and adults

Rabi S., Kurien A.S., Vettivel S.

Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore 632 002, India; Department of Radiodiagnosis, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India

ABSTRACT The human foot has a big toe and four lateral toes. The big toe has only two phalanges but each of the lateral toes has three. The presence of a two-phalangeal fifth toe was first described in 1492 by Leonardo da Vinci and later by a few others. It has not been reported in Indian populations. The present study estimated the incidence of this feature in a sample of South Indian fetuses, children and adults. Seven-month to full-term fetuses were collected at the Department of Anatomy. Stored X-ray images of the feet of children and adults were from the Department of Radiodiagnosis. Twelve pairs of fetal feet were used to count the number of ossified phalanges in the fifth toe by the Alizarine red technique. X-ray images (n = 112) of children, aged one to twelve years, and X-ray images (n = 263) of adults were grouped by gender and side. Twenty one feet (87.5%) of the fetuses had a biphalangeal fifth toe. Eleven X-ray images (9.8%) of children and thirty-one X-ray images (11.8%) of adults revealed a biphalangeal fifth toe. The percentage of incidence of this anatomical variant in the South Indian adult population was less than that reported for European (35.5%) and Japanese (80.4%) populations, probably because South Indians are not a consistently shoe-wearing community. The incidence of this feature was significantly (p<0.001) higher in females probably due to use of improperly designed foot-wear.

Keywords: adult, anatomical variation, article, bone radiography, child, female, fetus, human, human tissue, image analysis, incidence, India, major clinical study, male, population research, race difference, shoe, toe malformation

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)