What is Brachymetatarsia?
Brachymetatarsia is a foot condition. In this one of the five bones of the foot is peculiarly short. The shortened metatarsals, results in smaller toe. This kind of problem usually occurs in both the feet and in the fourth toe that means it occurs bilaterally. In some cases it affects more than one toe and this peculiar state is known as Brachymetapody.
This kind of disorder occurs when metatarsal growth shuts down at an early stage. The growth plate closes and the bone cannot grow. This happens due to hereditary factor or by external trauma put on the foot. As a result the metatarsal plate gets fractured.Â Â
The functioning is the most effected. The smaller toe may lead to several problems. While walking the weight of the body is distributed from the 5th to the 1st toe. This happens in the normal case when the toes are of normal length.Â Brachymetatarsia interrupts this normal process of weight distribution on toes.
Here since the 4th toe is shorter in length then the 5th one, hence it cannot assume the weight of the body properly. The weight cannot get transferred to the 3rd toe correctly. Due to this the 3rd and the 5th toe gain extra weight. As a result of this extra weight and pressure, pain develops in those areas. Problems related with footwear are also observed.Â Â
This kind of disorder has very limited treatment. One way to rectify it is by wearing shoes that have extra room for shortened toe. One can make use of padding to reduce the pressure. Orthotics is one of the best ways to rectify it.
In some cases surgical procedure is conducted to increase the length of the smaller toe. It is done by the process of grafting. Here the smaller metatarsal is cut and is connected or grafted with a piece of bone. In due course of time with medication the graft heals and it gets altered with correct size. However in some of the cases the tendons and the skin surrounding the area also has to be lengthened.
It should be noted that extremely short metatarsal might be difficult to graft. However the neighboring metatarsal has to be shortened to some extent. This is done to rectify the arc of the toe and the natural weight distribution of the foot is restored. One has to take extraordinary care after surgery. One must avoid carrying weights and should keep the toe covered by a snug sneaker.
The latest technology involves the drawing of the bone to the appropriate length. It is done with an external device where the pins are attached to the metatarsal.Â