Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 12, P1317-1322, December 2007

Surgical correction for curly toe using open tenotomy of flexor digitorum brevis tendon

Published:March 12, 2007DOI:


      Curly toe is a common congenital deformity characterized by flexion and varus deformity of the interphalangeal joints. Because this minor deformity is seldom accompanied with any symptoms, treatment strategy has rarely been discussed in detail in the literature. Eight toes in seven patients with curly toe were treated by open tenotomy of the medial slip of the flexor digitorum brevis tendon. If sufficient correction was not obtained, the collateral ligament and the volar plate of the proximal interphalangeal joint were dissected. The skin defect at the plantar base of the toe was covered using a local flap or a full-thickness skin graft. The median age at operation was 2 years 6 months (ranged from 8 months to 5 years 4 months). In all cases, contracture of the plantar skin at the base of the toe and tight FDB tendon were recognized to a variable degree. Postoperatively, overlapping of the affected toe was corrected in every case at a median follow-up of 2 years 9 months. However, flexion and/or varus deformity tended to remain to some degree in those patients with severe curly toe. Toes with moderate to severe deformity with overlapping beneath the adjacent toe are candidates for surgical correction, because spontaneous correction is unlikely and troublesome symptoms may occur as the child grows older. Surgical correction should be performed until 2–3 years of age. The postoperative result might be poor, if treated in the older age, because skeletal deformity is likely to occur. Open tenotomy of the FDB tendon is easy to perform, and toe function was seldom impaired.


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