How often have we heard that length matters? For instance, if you want to put your hair in a ponytail, it needs to be a certain length to adequately achieve the desired look. Length matters in sports. Long jumpers are obviously aiming to jump the farthest length. The length of a runway matters to safely support air traffic. You wouldnt want to attempt to land a 747 on your local county airfield. For those of you who simply cannot keep your mind out of the gutter, length matters in other areas of life as well. If I need to go into detail, your heart and mind are pure and I will not dream of tarnishing that. Now, having cleared the air on that, length matters in the bones of your foot.

In some instances you may have a bone, more often than not a metatarsal (bone in foot), which is much shorter than it should be. This condition is medically termed Brachymetatarsal. This condition most commonly affects the 4th metatarsal and either caused from congenital (inherited) reasons OR acquired. It is typically not a painful deformity, but because of the effects it may cause on the adjacent metatarsals, it can become a problem.

The most amazing treatment option is possible..Lengthen the metatarsal. With the help of a device called an external fixator, the bone can be lengthened to the desired amount over a course of a specified time. It is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon makes a cut in the in the bone and then applies an external fixation device. This device has pins that are rotated a certain amount daily, which internally creates a distraction force on the ends of the bone. Before the full healing of the bone has begun the pins are twisted again. This process is continued until the desired and appropriate length is obtained.

If you are in need of a foot specialist, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or contact us online.

Photo Credit: Alexis via

Category: Surgery

Tags: Bone Surgery, Brachymetatarsal, Metatarsal