If you're having trouble finding shoes that fit correctly and are embarrassed by the appearance of your feet, there is hope. Internationally renowned foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Alireza Khosroabadi, DPM, performs advanced brachymetatarsia correction procedures to address this foot deformity. Though we're located in California, Khosroabadi Institute serves patients from across the country and around the world.
What Is Brachymetatarsia?
Every foot has five bones inside it called metatarsals. These are bones that are related to each of your five toes.
Brachymetatarsia (or short toe syndrome) is when one or more of the bones in the front of the foot is much shorter than the others. This foot condition may affect any of the five metatarsals, but it usually happens to the fourth.
Brachymetatarsia can be congenital, meaning it is present at birth, or it can develop as a result of trauma or injury to the foot. Brachymetatarsia can affect one foot or both feet.
Brachymetatarsia is considered a relatively rare condition. The exact prevalence of brachymetatarsia is not well-established, but it is generally estimated to occur in less than 1% of the population. It is more commonly seen in females than males.
Symptoms of Brachymetatarsia
Looking at the foot, it might appear that the fourth toe itself is shorter than the other toes. It may even appear as if the fourth toe is raised up, with the third and fifth toes touching each other below it.
Other symptoms of brachymetatarsia include:
- Pain or discomfort in the affected toe or the ball of the foot
- Difficulty finding shoes that fit properly due to the size discrepancy
- Limited range of motion in the affected toe
- Changes in gait or walking pattern to compensate for the shortened toe
- Calluses or corns on the bottom of the foot due to abnormal weight distribution
- Hammer toes or bunions due to altered foot mechanics
- Cosmetic concerns or self-consciousness about the appearance of the foot
While checking your brachymetatarsia, your foot and ankle doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine your entire foot. The condition can be easily diagnosed with an X-ray, which can determine exactly which metatarsal is shortened.
Treatment of Brachymetatarsia
Brachymetatarsia is a foot condition with few treatment options. When brachymetatarsia causes no pain or discomfort, it may be treated with careful shoe selection. In more severe cases of brachymetatarsia, surgical treatment may be required.
Surgical Treatment of Brachymetatarsia
Surgery is an option to increase the length of the shortened metatarsal bone. By using a bone graft on the shortened metatarsal, a brachymetatarsia surgeon can add length. An experienced brachymetatarsia surgeon can tell you if this is the best way to go.
Another surgical treatment is when pins of an external device are drilled into the short metatarsal and the external fixation is manipulated gradually over time, actually lengthening of the metatarsal as the bone heals and strengthens.
Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.
Find Out If We Can Help You
If you have brachymetatarsia, you might be a candidate for Dr. K's minimally-invasive toe lengthening surgery. Make an appointment in our Woodland Hills office or schedule a virtual consultation from outside California to find out if we can help you. Call 877-FOOT-911 today to learn about your options.