Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008


Brachymetatarsia is a genetic condition characterized by an abnormally short metatarsal. The toe with the short metatarsal will be shorter than normal. If more than one toe is affected, the condition is called brachymetapody.

This condition is caused by the premature closing of the growth plate of the metatarsal. This premature end in growth results in the short metatarsal. There is no medical, noninvasive intervention that can cause the natural growth of the bone.

Brachymetatarsia can cause several problems. The effected person may experience difficulty with the weight distribution of the toes. Since the abnormally short toe cannot support its usual amount of weight, the other toes are forced to compensate. This can cause pain in the toes that are compensating and bearing the extra weight. Brachymetatarsia can interfere with the natural walking gait.

Treatment for most cases of brachymetatarsia is noninvasive, conservative care. Padding and orthotics can help alleviate pressure on the toes. If the condition is problematic or if noninvasive methods don’t help, surgical intervention may be recommended by a physician. Surgery to correct brachymetatarsia means lengthening the short metatarsal.

The surgeon may cut the bone and add a bone graft to lengthen the metatarsal. Tendons and skin around the short toe have to be modified to allow for the new length. In some cases, a bone graft is not possible due to a severe difference in length of the short toe versus the unaffected toes. Instead of lengthening the extremely short metatarsal, the surgeon may reduce the length of the other toes. This helps equal out the pressure on the toes.

A new treatment for brachymetatarsia involves the use of an external device attached to the effected metatarsal by surgical pins. This device is used to encourage the lengthening of the short metatarsal by adjustment at appropriate intervals.


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