What Is Brachymetatarsia?

Brachymetatarsia is a foot condition where one of the long bones of the toe is shorter than the rest, and the toe overlaps another toe.  It can happen with more than one toe (called brachymetapody), and usually appears between the ages of four and thirteen.  It usually happens on both feet, and usually is the result of the metatarsal growth plate closing prematurely, through trauma or genetics.

brachymetatarsia from scielo.br

Children are often quite bothered by the appearance of shortened toes and brachymetatarsia can be depressing for them.  Physically, brachymetatarsia is a problem as well.  It usually occurs in the fourth toe, and it interferes with normal walking:  with a normal foot, weight is placed first on the small fifth toe, then proceeds to the next longest and so on until the big toe.  With the fourth toe not taking the weight, pressure is on the fifth and third toe, which results in pain and the eventual misalignment of the fourth toe, causing it to overlap.

It is important to see a podiatrist who can recommend the best treatment.  depending on the severity (shortness) of the metatarsal problem, either an implant or a device that is placed to help regrowth of the bone to a proper length.  If the bone is too short, sometimes the third and fifth toes are slightly shortened to normalize the arc of the foot.

Foot padding and orthotic devices may also be used.

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