BRACHYMETATARSIA: Brachymetatarsia is a condition that affects the growth of a toe, keeping it shorter than the other four on the foot. Typically, brachymetatarsia affects the fourth toe on both feet. Having a shortened toe can lead to serious problems, including pain in the foot. When walking, weight is distributed evenly from the fifth toe up to the first toe or “big” toe. This works because each toe becomes gradually longer from the fifth to the first, but brachymetatarsia disrupts this even distribution, putting more weight on the surrounding toes and causes pain. (Source: www.healthcommunities.com)
CAUSES: Brachymetatarsia occurs when one of the metatarsals (usually the fourth) stops growing while the other four toes on the foot continue growing at their normal rate. The disease is found more in females and can often occur in people that suffer from Down syndrome. The most common cause of the disease is hereditary. (Source: www.brainsurgeryny.com)
TREATMENTS: The most conservative treatment options for brachymetatarsia include specialized shoes that allow more room for the shortened toe and padding that protects the toe from friction. Some orthotics may also be used to relieve some of the pressure put on other toes to avoid strain. Typical brachymetatarsia surgery involves breaking the toe and grafting a piece of bone between the two ends, thus lengthening the toe. (Source: www.healthcommunities.com)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new device can now aid in growing a toe affected by brachymetatarsia to its normal length. The new technique is a more natural method of toe lengthening that is being used by Dr. Bradley Lamm of the Rubin Institute of Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. The procedure begins with Dr. Lamm breaking the toe bone affected by brachymetatarsia. The device is then placed over the broken toe and must be adjusted every day by the patient for one month. After a few months and the bone is healed, the device is then removed. The biggest positives of this new technology are that it won’t leave any screws or plates behind in the foot, and can be worn inside one’s shoe. (Source: www.lifebridgeblogs.org)
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