Health

Health Beat: Lengthening toes

Health Beat: Lengthening toes

BALTIMORE - Today, she's getting a pedicure, but for most of her life, Jessica Williamson hid her feet from everyone she met.

"I wouldn't go to pool parties. I was not going in the water!" said Williamson, who had brachymetatarsia.

Her fourth toe never grew to a normal size. It can cause balance problems, bunions, hammer toes and lots of insecurities.

"Of course, I avoided any sort of shoes that showed my toes whatsoever," Williamson said.

Shoe inserts were the traditional treatment, but now, Dr. Bradley Lamm of the Rubin Institute for Advance Orthopedics at LifeBridge Health, is offering patients another option.
Doctor Lamm surgically breaks the toe bone. Then he mounts this fixator device to the top of the foot. Patients can walk with it and they adjust it every day for one month.
"So, they turn one turn in the morning and one turn at night and this gradual turning is growing the bone." Dr. Lamm told Ivanhoe, "To not only lengthen the bone but preserve function is the goal."
The device stays on the foot for another two to three months while the bone heals and is then removed. There are no screws or plates left behind.
Today, Williamson can walk better and isn't afraid to show off her pedicure!
"It really is life-changing for somebody who's lived with this and feels the insecurities." She said.
Brachymetatarsia (BRAY-kee-meh-tuh-tar-SEE-uh) can be the result of an injury or a birth defect.
The surgery requires an overnight stay in the hospital but patients are able to walk the next day and the results are permanent. Dr. Lamm is the only surgeon who performs this technique and has treated more than 500 patients so far.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary and an in-depth interview with the doctor


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