The utility of the proximal epiphysis of the fifth metatarsal in age estimation

Catriona M. Davies, Lucina Hackman, Sue Black

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    Radiographs of 277 living individuals were assessed via a numerical scoring system to determine the timing of appearance and degree of fusion between the proximal epiphysis of the fifth metatarsal and its diaphysis. The epiphysis was observed to first appear in females at 8 years and 10 years in males and fuse by 14 years in females and 15 years in males. When assessing the level of agreement of category assignment, inter-observer agreement was 78% for females and 64% for males whereas intra-observer agreement was 77% for females and 86.1% for males. These results suggest that the maturation of the proximal epiphysis of the fifth metatarsal may be of value in age estimation in the child and that the scoring system is sufficiently robust to merit continued investigation. Previously this epiphysis has been considered an inconstant feature, but this research confirmed its presence in all individuals studied.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)436-442
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013



    • Forensic science
    • Forensic anthropology
    • Age estimation
    • Epiphyseal union
    • Foot
    • Fifth metatarsal

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