Overview

Metatarsus Adductus is a deformity of the foot generally noticed at birth. It causes the front area of the foot (forefoot) to turn inward whilst the rear of the foot (arch and heel) remains in the normal position. Minor cases are sometimes not apparent until later stages when the abnormality may become more pronounced.

This condition is relatively common and thought to affect 1 to 2 in every 1000 children born, with half these cases impacting both feet. First-born children are at greater risk. The long-term outlook for children with Metatarsus Adductus is positive, with more than 90% of cases resolve themselves over time.

Causes

It is not known if there is a singular cause of Metatarsus Adductus but the following factors may be associated with an increased risk:

  • A medical condition resulting in a lack of amniotic fluid production during pregnancy.
  • The baby being in the breech position in the womb.
  • Family history of the condition.
  • Abnormal muscular structure in the foot.

Symptoms

Children with Metatarsus Adductus may trip or fall over more often than other children and may appear clumsy or unsteady as they walk. The foot may be flexible enough to return to its normal position or close to normal position when corrected by hand or so inflexible it can barely be moved at all.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose a case of Metatarsus Adductus through a physical examination of the patient. Physical assessment will involve close examination of the foot and ankle and a Biomechanical Assessment to study the child’s range of movement. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be recommended.

Treatment

Treatment of Metatarsus Adductus depends on the flexibility of the affected foot. If the foot is very flexible, the condition will most likely correct itself as the child grows and no further treatment will be needed. However if the foot does not correct itself, the following treatments may be effective:

  • Stretching or gentle manipulation of the foot.
  • A splint or specially fitted shoe to straighten the foot into the correct position.
  • Padded shoes or orthotic inserts may be prescribed by your podiatrist. Kinetic Orthotics can be effective in correcting the positioning of the foot.
  • Changing the sleeping position of the child – a side-lying position may be helpful in correcting the problem.
  • A cast to correct the foot during infant growth – usually before 12 months of age to ensure best results.
  • In rare cases, surgery may be required to correct the joints in the forefoot.

Prevention

As this condition occurs in the fetus there are no known preventative measures.



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