What is Brachymetatarsia?

Having five toes, or metatarsals, of similar length is something the vast majority of us take for granted. However, a few of us have one metatarsal that’s significantly shorter than the rest of our toes. This condition is called brachymetatarsia.

If you have brachymetatarsia, you might have difficulties with the proper functioning and cosmetic appearance of your foot. Discover from Thomas Rambacher, DPM, the head podiatrist at Mission Viejo, California’s Podiatry Hotline Foot and Ankle, more about brachymetatarsia and what treatment options you have if it’s negatively impacting your feet.

What is brachymetatarsia?

Brachymetatarsia is a condition where one of your metatarsals has a significantly shortened bone, causing that toe to be much shorter than the other four. The fourth metatarsal, located next to your little toe, is the most common toe to be affected. 

What are the causes of brachymetatarsia?

Brachymetatarsia can occur as a result of genetics or trauma. Genetic conditions that can cause brachymetatarsia include changes in your parathyroid hormonal levels, Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, and Albright Syndrome.

You can also get brachymetatarsia if you had trauma to your toe before you finished growing. Trauma can cause your growth plates to close in the toe before they were ready, stunting the toe’s growth.

What happens if brachymetatarsia goes untreated?

Many individuals with brachymetatarsia do not like the appearance of their foot. In many cases, though, concerns go beyond the cosmetic, and brachymetatarsia can cause problems with your feet.

Your toe impacted by brachymetatarsia is at risk of not touching the ground like toes usually do. When your metatarsal lifts, it might also move to the side, crossing over either of the toes next to it.

This can change the way your foot bears weight, which can cause pain, discomfort, or a feeling of pressure when you walk or engage in activities while on your feet. You can also get a callus in the area or experience problems with the biomechanics of your foot alignment, both of which also can cause pain.

What are the treatment options for brachymetatarsia?

Dr. Rambacher offers conservative and surgical treatment for brachymetatarsia. To determine the best treatment for you, Dr. Rambacher examines your foot during your initial visit, and based on the examination and listening to your goals, develops a personalized plan to treat your brachymetatarsia.

If your brachymetatarsia is mild and you’re satisfied with your foot’s appearance, our doctors might recommend you wear specific shoes, usually with a wide toe box, to accommodate your foot’s needs. Other conservative treatments include taking NSAID anti-inflammatory medications, custom orthotics, and limiting or modifying painful activities.

Surgical procedures are also an option if conservative treatment doesn’t fix your pain or you’d like to alter the appearance of your foot. Dr. Rambacher can surgically lengthen your toe through either a bone graft or by gradually lengthening your toe through using an external fixator.

If you have brachymetatarsia and are experiencing pain or dislike your foot’s appearance, you don’t need to suffer in silence any longer. Our compassionate, skilled team at Podiatry Hotline Foot and Ankle provides expert care that relieves your side effects from brachymetatarsia.

To make an appointment at Podiatry Hotline Foot and Ankle, located in Mission Viejo, CA, book online or call the office.

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