Brachymetatarsia is a condition wherein one toe is much shorter than the others. Sometimes referred to as “short toe”, it may be caused by a genetic condition, a lack of growth during childhood, or the result of an injury or infection. While not technically considered a disability, brachymetatarsia forces the other toe bones to hold more weight than usual, and some patients experience consistent discomfort, making it more difficult to stand or walk for long periods of time.  

Individuals who need short toe foot pain treatment for brachymetatarsia should consult an experienced foot and ankle surgeon at the Khosroabadi Institute. Dr. K and his team have two surgical options for brachymetatarsia that may fix the problem. 

Short Toe Foot Pain Treatment: Brachymetatarsia Surgery

Whether you call the issue short toe, short metatarsal, small toe, stubby toe, short fourth toe, or short toe syndrome, it can hurt! Additionally, some people don’t like how their feet look because of brachymetatarsia, which causes emotional discomfort. 

Initial treatment for brachymetatarsia may include wearing special shoes with a wide toe box. Some doctors also recommend padding to help protect the short toe from friction and irritation caused by shoes. Additionally, custom-made orthotics often relieve pressure and distribute weight to other bones. But if these treatments don’t work, bone lengthening surgery is the next option.

During a consultation, Dr. K. assesses overall foot health and mobility, as well as the short toe. Then, he may recommend two different brachymetatarsia surgeries to alleviate pain, redistribute weight between all toes, and help you regain a normal gait and standing posture. Here’s what you should know.

External Fixator

This procedure involves making a small incision and attaching a bone-stretching device—known as an external fixator—to the short toe bone to help lengthen it. It works much like braces do as they slowly straighten crooked teeth.

Over 8–to–16 weeks, you’ll gradually and painlessly turn the device until the toe is gently stretched to the appropriate length. The bone is usually lengthened .5 mm per day, but that varies. For example, if your toe was 5 centimeters short, the lengthening would take approximately 40 days.

During this time, you can stand with the help of crutches. 

One-Stage Bone Graft Lengthening

Another option is when Dr. K. cuts the short toe bone in half and inserts a graft between the two portions of the bone. After a few weeks, the bone graft heals and becomes part of the original toe bone.  

Curious about whether some form of brachymetatarsia surgery will work for you? Review testimonials from satisfied patients.