Syndactyly of the foot, otherwise known as webbed toes, is a condition in which a child is born with two or more toes that are not entirely separated. The toes may be totally fused together or just partially fused. This creates an unusual webbed toe appearance which can impair mobility.
Types of syndactyly
It is most common to see syndactyly between the 2nd and 3rd toes. However, it can affect other toes. There are three types of syndactyly:
Simple syndactyly – A bridge of skin causes the toe webbing.
Complex syndactyly – The toes are joined by cartilage or bone.
Complicated syndactyly – The toes suffer significant abnormalities.
All three variations of the condition can cause issues with development, flexibility and mobility if left untreated.
Webbed toes result from the development of the toes and feet when the baby is in the womb. Genetic conditions can play a part, but usually, there are no real reasons or causes for this condition.
Treating Webbed Toes
Webbed toes will usually be treated when the child is still very young. There will be several ultrasounds and x-rays to determine the foot and toe structure and check bone and cartilage positioning. Operating when the child is very young reduces the risk of further foot problems. Therefore, the surgery is usually performed when the child is between 12-18 months old.
The surgeon will separate the fused toes. It may be necessary for a skin graft to make sure each toe is fully covered. If syndactyly affects more than three toes on a foot, multiple operations will be required to reduce the risk of losing blood supply.
After the procedure, the foot will be bandaged or set in a cast to allow the toes time to heal. The healing process can take several months. The infant must have regular outpatient check-ups while they grow to ensure the toes and feet are not encountering further issues.
If you require advice on specialist foot care, Louisa Seymour Podiatry have the expertise and experience to ensure you receive the best advice and treatment. Contact us today to find out more on 01277 216870.