Another common genetic issue with the foot is a short toe, or Brachymetatarsia. Short toes are genetic and happen when one or more of the metatarsal bones in the foot are abnormally short.
Although short toes typically don’t cause as much pain or discomfort as hammertoes or long toes (although your weight distribution could be skewed if your short toe doesn’t reach the ground), they are still an issue most people would like to fix.
If you find that your short toe is impacting the weight distribution of your foot, you may be physically impacted by your condition and wish to fix your short toe surgically or at least alleviate some of the discomfort.
Conservative measures, such as lifestyle and wardrobe changes, can be recommended, as well as surgical methods that lengthen the shortened toe. These measures all depend on the patient’s lifestyle, age, and particular impediment.
The following conservative treatment practices can be adapted to improve Brachymetatarsia:
Wearing shoes with extra depth and more space in the toe box can help give the shortened toe space to move around and assist in weight distribution.
Several over-the-counter pads and wraps are available that can be placed between the toes or behind the painful nail edge to relieve pain caused by a short toe.
Temporary arch supports or custom molded orthotics can give support and minimize the gripping or clawing effect of short toes from a flattening archway. If a patient doesn’t want to undergo surgery, orthotics and arch support are great solutions for treatment.
Similar to long toe shortening surgery, the surgical treatment for a short toe takes place in an outpatient center or a clinic where the patient is under sedation and local anesthesia.
This surgery may or may not require an internal pin, the incision is minimal (½ a centimeter to 1.5 centimeters), and each two takes approximately 20 minutes. Occasionally an additional procedure is necessary, such as spur removal.
Sutures are removed after two weeks, and the patient is able to bear weight in a post-operative shoe or open-toe sandal after 48 to 72 hours of rest and elevation.
With toe lengthening surgery, sports, exercise, and wearing different shoes is allowed as soon as three weeks after surgery, depending on swelling and incision sensitivity.
A toe lengthening surgery only takes 30 to 60 minutes and is performed in an outpatient, same-day facility.
The external fixation device is more painful than the internal fixation devices. Since the incision and surgery performed inside of the toe are both minimal, the pain is minimal as well — usually controlled with anti-inflammatory medication.
Sutures are removed after two weeks, and the patient is able to bear weight in a post-operative shoe or open-toe sandal after 48 to 72 hours of rest and elevation. Like with toe lengthening surgery, sports, exercise, and wearing different shoes is allowed as soon as three weeks after surgery, depending on swelling and incision sensitivity.
Brachymetatarsia is not very common. It involves a short metatarsal and short toe, and most commonly occurs in women.
Brachymetatarsia can be treated surgically with either an external fixation device (pins that exit the skin) or internal fixation devices (pins, staples, or plates underneath the skin). The fourth metatarsal is the most common Brachymetatarsia, and there are new procedures to lengthen the toe with minimal equipment and less time to heal.
A Greek toe is associated with a “Greek Foot” or Morton’s toe — a longer second toe compared with the first and third toes.
“Dr. Moore is awesome! He’s so friendly and so is the staff. I went in to take care of an ingrown and he was quick about it and it didn’t even really hurt! I highly recommend him because he definitely knows his stuff!”
Dr. Moore’s patient describes how her life has been negatively impacted by the appearance of her feet — from being embarrassed of her short toe while on a recent cruise, to avoiding certain shoes and sandals that would otherwise show off her feet.
This patient chose Dr. Moore because of his unique process that did not involve metatarsal lengthening and the lengthy healing process that comes after. The surgical result caused a joyful emotional reaction from the patient, who can now live her life with a newfound confidence.
You can achieve a symmetrical, balanced-looking foot with the help of Moore Foot and Ankle Specialists. Contact us today to book a consultation!
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