Metatarsalgia is a recognised complication following iatrogenic shortening of the first metatarsal in the management of hallux valgus. The traditional surgical treatment is by shortening osteotomies of the lesser metatarsals. We describe the results of lengthening of iatrogenic first brachymetatarsia in 16 females. A Scarf-type osteotomy was used in the first four cases and a step-cut of equal thicknesses along the axis of the first metatarsal was performed in the others. The mean follow-up was 21 months (19 to 26). Relief of metatarsalgia was obtained in the six patients in whom 10 mm of lengthening had been achieved, compared to only 50% relief in those where less than 8 mm of lengthening had been gained. One-stage step-cut lengthening osteotomy of the first metatarsal may be preferable to shortening osteotomies of the lesser metatarsals in the treatment of metatarsalgia following surgical shortening of the first metatarsal.