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Why is one Toe Much Shorter than the Others?

Toes on the floor

Reasons for Brachymetatarsia

For the most part, brachymetatarsia results when the metatarsal development plate closes too early. Once the development plate closes, the bone behind the toe can no longer grow. This may be genetic or the result of an injury to the foot which causes a fracture of the metatarsal growth area.

Physiology of Brachymetatarsia

A shortened toe can cause numerous problems. During walking, the weight usually is moved from the fifth toe to the 4th, then to the 3rd, and so on till it reaches the first toe (hallux). This happens due to the fact that the toes are progressively longer and as weight is moved to the forefoot, the next longest toe assumes the weight. Brachymetatarsia disrupts this procedure.

If the fourth toe is shorter than the fifth toe, it never ever assumes the body weight and can not move it to the 3rd toe correctly. As an outcome, the fifth and 3rd toes receive additional weight and discomfort develops in those areas. An abnormally short toe likewise tends to wander up, which frequently causes problems and pain when wearing shoes.

Treatment for Brachymetatarsia

Conservative treatment includes wearing shoes with additional depth to permit more room for the shortened toe. Padding can protect the toe from pressure and friction from the top of the shoe, which may cause ulcers. Dr. Cruz uses orthotics to alleviate pressure under the other toes and metatarsal bones by distributing the pressures more evenly.

Doctors perform surgery to extend the short toe in many cases. First, the doctor cuts the short metatarsal. Next, he grafts a piece of bone between the two ends. When the graft heals, the metatarsal and toe are the proper size. Often the toe tendons and the surrounding skin will be lengthened to accommodate the fixed toe.

An extremely short metatarsal may make grafting difficult. In this case, doctors shorten the two metatarsals next to the shortened bone to restore the normal arc or curve of the metatarsals and toes and bring back the foot’s capability to transfer weight evenly.

Following surgical treatment, all weight should be kept off the surgically repaired foot for 3 months. After this period, you can use a snug-fitting lace-up shoe (e.g., oxford, tennis shoe) for about 6 weeks.

Newer treatment includes using an external medical gadget, which is connected to the metatarsal with pins. Therefore gradually lengthening the bone until it is the proper length.

Find relief at your Brandon Podiatrist

In conclusion, the many conditions that affect the feet sometimes have an easy solution. Brandon Podiatrist Jairo Cruz Jr has years of experience in giving you the relief you need. His company slogan is “hobble in…walk out”. If you would like to set up an appointment at the Gentle Foot Care Clinic, please call (813) 502-5904. Zephyrhills office (813) 782-3233.

Dr Marc Katz Marc A Katz DPM Dr. Marc Katz is a podiatrist that previously practiced in South Tampa on Swann Ave with Dr. Jairo Cruz DPM. He works closely with Dr. Cruz to create educational materials to help patients and the community. Dr. Katz is recognized as a leader in the Tampa Podiatry community for over 23 years. Dr. Katz has extensive expertise in all areas of foot and ankle medicine and surgery and is Board-Certified. He was an early adopter and is a leader in Minimally-invasive procedures and Regenerative medicine in the podiatry community. Dr. Katz has had many articles published in podiatry journals discussing his procedures and techniques. In addition, Dr. Katz has advanced training in Functional and Holistic Medicine and Nutrition. He is one of a few podiatrists that has taken advanced courses in Prolotherapy, Neural Prolotherapy and Ozone Therapy. Please enjoy the content and I truly hope that you find great benefit. Dr. Katz can be reached at For more information:

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