Podiatrist Questions Toe Injuries and Disorders

Why is one of my toes smaller than the others?

I'm 22, and the toe next to my little one on my right foot is smaller than the same toe on my left foot. Is this normal?

21 Answers

Yes. Likely it is normal variation. Xray is the most important step to get full answer.
It is not normal. It is usually a congenital or inherited problem and should not cause any difficulty
It likely is normal, some people also have 2 different sizes of feet and this is also normal. If it is extremely small and short if could be a birth defect that has occurred.
It is not normal. It is a condition called brachymetatarsia. Brachymetatarsia is a condition in which there is one or more abnormally short or overlapping toe bones (metatarsals). This condition may result due to a congenital defect - a rare condition that develops from early closure of the growth plate. It most frequently involves the fourth metatarsal/toe.
Not normal, but common.
What you most likely have is Brachymetatarsal. Brachymetatarsal affects mostly the 4th metatarsal, which is seen clinically as the toe next to the little one. The cause is congenital, meaning you were born with it, which is the most common etiology. Other causes of brachymetatarsal include post-traumatic, post-surgical, or secondary to a disease-state such as downs syndrome. Furthermore, a familiar pattern of inheritance can be seen and it is more common in females.
Is this normal: The only thing abnormal is the short metatarsal bone. Brachymetatarsal is usually harmless however patient seek medical attention for mainly 2 reasons - functional limitation (pain) and or cosmetic concerns.
A variety of surgical procedures have been described to treat brachymetatarsal and can be grouped into callus distraction via external fixation or bone grafting techniques. A thorough history & physical, education and patient understanding is key before undergoing either surgical procedure.
This is probably a condition called brachymetatarsia. This is not uncommon or dangerous, but you should see your podiatrist for an X-ray to be sure
Yes it’s all about genetics
An X-ray can tell you where the discrepancy is. However, this in many cases is a brachymetapody, or short metatarsal, that in most cases is not symptomatic. The metatarsal is the long bone the toe sits on, and sometimes this bone is abnormally short.
It is a congenital difference and is ‘normal,’ meaning that no treatment is necessary.

Smaller in length or width when compared to opposite foot? Are there any complaints associated with this problem? Besides looks and aesthetics, there may be achy to sharp pain to the joints of the toe or changes to the skin of the toe or foot such as overgrowth of skin known as callous. Diagnosis should include a three view foot xray, likely principal diagnosis is brachymetatarsia, typically a congenital condition, most common 4th toe. Correction can be surgical depending on many surrounding factors.

If the toe looks like it is retracted it could be a condition called brachymetatarsia.

Dr. Lui
A short toe can occur for many reasons. Typically, there is a short metatarsal which can give the appearance of a short toe. Also, there could be a shorter bone or possibly bone missing in the toe as well. X-ray can determine what is causing condition.

Jonathan M. Kletz, DPM
It's most likely that the shorter of the 2 types has a fused joint vs the longer route. Normal. 
This is a very difficult question to answer because every person has totally different anatomical bone structure. If you are concerned I would check with a podiatric physician have X-rays taken of your feet and that physician can answer your question adequately and personally.
Thank you.

Dr. Gorman
This is a congenital deformity called brachymetatrsia and is fixed by surgical intervention.
You may have a short toe due to brachymetatarsia, a condition where the bone behind the toe stops growing too soon. Unless it's painful or causes difficulty with shoes, we usually don't do anything about it. See your doctor to get an X-ray and evaluation.
If the adjacent toe is shorter, it is possible you have brachymetatarsia. The condition is defined by shortening of the metatarsal, in your case the 4th metatarsal, that is making the 4th toe look smaller/shorter.
The most likely answer is that you have a condition known as 'Brachymetatarsia.' This is a genetic condition in which one or more of the metatarsals (the long bones just before your toes) is too short in relation to the surrounding metatarsal bones, and thus, the toe is shorter. If it is painful, address it with a 3-year surgically trained and board certified Podiatrist. If it is not painful, don't worry about it. You can live with that condition with no issues or problems for your entire life
You likely have a condition called brachymetatarsia. The problem is with the bone behind the toe, called the metatarsal, which is likely short. I recommend you be evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon (podiatrist) and have an X ray to determine the cause.