Finger length may predict athletic ability: Study

Washington: Your hands may predict how good you are at sports, say scientists who found that athletic prowess could be related to the length of your fingers.

Researchers explored the difference in length between one’s index finger and ring finger, and a possible link to muscular strength.

They found that the ratio of the length of the index finger and the length of the ring finger – called the “digit ratio” – is favourably related to muscular strength in boys.

The ring finger in males is typically longer than the index finger, whereas the fingers are about the same length in females, said Grant Tomkinson, a professor at the University of North Dakota in the US.

“There is some indirect evidence that this digit ratio of the length of the fingers, is determined during early foetal development by testosterone – the more testosterone the foetus produces, the longer the ring finger, so the smaller the digit ratio,” he said.

Testosterone is the natural steroid hormone that enhances sport, athletic and fitness test performance. In general, people with smaller digit ratios are better athletes, researchers said.

“Our study shows that boys with lower digit ratios have better handgrip strength, irrespective of their age or body size,” Tomkinson said.

Since muscular strength is important for success in many youth sports and athletic events, the finding suggests that the digit ratio may predict performance in youth sports and athletic events requiring high strength, researchers said.

Muscular strength is also an important indicator of good health, and those with lower digit ratios probably have better general health and well-being, Tomkinson said.

Researchers also found that females with lower digit ratios are better basketball players.