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Metatarsus Adductus

Common Foot Condition in Newborns and Infants

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Updated February 28, 2009

Metatarsus adductus is a common foot condition seen in newborns and infants. Metatarsus adductus is found in about 1% of all newborns. It is usually noticed, as the toes and forefoot are pointed inward. The appearance of the sole of the foot has been described as a "bean shape."

What Causes Metatarsus Adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is one of the so-called "packaging problems" thought to be due to the position of the child in the womb. Other packaging problems include:

What Is the Treatment for Metatarsus Adductus?

Some doctors recommend stretching, special footwear, or physical therapy. The truth is, 90 to 95% of children with metatarsus adductus will spontaneously resolve the deformity regardless of treatment, including no treatment whatsoever.

In cases of a rigid deformity (meaning the foot cannot be stretched to a normal position), cast treatment will be initiated. Casts are molded to stretch the foot into a normal position. This treatment should be initiated in the first 6 months of life. If casting does not improve the foot position, a surgery may be recommended. Surgery is usually delayed until after age 3, and only when cast treatment fails to improve the foot.

Sources:

Sankar WN, Weiss J, Skaggs DL. "Orthopaedic Conditions in the Newborn"J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 17, No 2, February 2009, 112-122.

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