What is Brachymetatarsia surgery and how it can be useful?

Brachymetatarsia surgery is essentially a procedure that is carried out to correct a short toe, which is referred to as brachymetatarsia or brachymetatarsal. In this condition, a growth disturbance impacts a bone in the foot, which results in a short toe. While brachymetatarsia can impact any toe, it mostly affects the short fourth toe. Generally the toe is of normal length but its bone in the arch i.e. metatarsal bone is rather short. The toe is called a floating toe when it is really short.

Short toes are almost always associated with a lot of embarrassment. Men and women who have short toes often tend to conceal their feet as well as avoid being barefoot. In most cases, young adults and children are the ones who are most physiologically impacted. Pain can be felt depending on the intensity or severity of short toe. The short toe is frequently positioned higher up the foot which makes it susceptible to irritation while a person wears shoes. The distribution of weight on the ball of a foot gets altered by the short toe. It can also lead to pressure calluses and pain.

There can be several causes that give rise to brachymetatarsia or short toe. While the condition can be caused by trauma, heredity is by far considered to be the most probable reason for it. Short toe is characterized as a growth disturbance instead of a birth defect. It is sometimes found in patients of Down’s Syndrome or Pseudohypoparathyroidism. It affects more women than men. In most cases metatarsal bone growth gets stunted whereas surrounding bone grow continues normally. The condition is noticed usually in early childhood at the time of bone development. The condition may affect either both feet or just one foot.

A Brachymetatarsia surgery is used for correcting the condition. Generally there are three different types of surgery that can be used for this condition. These are

  • Sliding bone-cut lengthening
  • Bone-graft lengthening
  • Brachymetatarsia external fixator lengthening

The sliding bone-cut lengthening procedure is used to manage very mild cases of short toe. The procedure involves creating one specially oriented cut in the metatarsal bone for lengthening the bone simply by shifting all the cut bones on one another. As it allows only a small length gain, this procedure is by far the least performed method since most cases of brachymetatarsia problems required advanced solutions.

Bone-graft lengthening procedure is used quite often to resolve the issue of short toe. In this process, toe length is effectively achieved by gently inserting one structural bone graft within the short bone. The size of the bone graft is determined by the length that is required. The brachymetatarsia external fixator lengthening procedure works as a means to extend the main structure of the bone. It is performed all over the world by numerous doctors and is known to be highly effective in managing short toe cases that require a comprehensive treatment regimen.