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Metatarsus Adductus

Common Foot Condition in Newborns and Infants


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.


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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