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Limb dominance for fifth metatarsal fracture in football players is position-specific

Fifth metatarsal fractures (5MtF) are one of the most common traumatic foot injuries in football player [1, 2]. A previous study demonstrated that the 5MtF in football players occur frequently in their non-dominant limb [2]. Since different playing positions requires different physical demands in match-play [3], the aim of this study was to examine the hypothesis that the limb dominance for 5MtF is position-specific. Using a publicly-available injured reserve list in Japan professional football league (J-League) during 2008-2013 seasons, we collected a total of 82 cases of 5MtF. Positions (forward players: FW, midfielders: MF, and defenders: DF) and limb dominance in each player was also identified by officially-released profile in their team. To test whether the percentage of limb dominance of 5MtF differed from chance, we used a binomial test to compare reported incidence of 5MtF in non-dominant limb out of all cases to the theoretical probability of 50%. In the present study, 24 (29.3%), 33 (40.2%) and 25 (30.5%) cases of 82 cases were classified into FW, MF and DF, respectively (Figure 1-A). There were no significant differences in the incidence of 5MtF among three groups (p=0.41, Chi-square test). Overall, the 5MtF tended to be occurred in non-dominant limb (Figure 1-B; p<0.01). However, as shown in Figure 1-B, the trend was more pronounced in DF (p<0.01), and not in FW (p=0.15) and MF (p=0.24). These results suggest that limb dominance for5MtF is position-specific in football players.

Figure 1
figure 1

A: Incidence of fifth metatarsal fracture in three groups. B: Percentage of non-dominant limb (%NDL) for fifth metatarsal fracture in each group.


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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Ueda, T., Hobara, H., Kobayashi, Y. et al. Limb dominance for fifth metatarsal fracture in football players is position-specific. J Foot Ankle Res 7 (Suppl 1), A86 (2014).

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