F is for Forefoot Varus

November 16, 2012

When the forefoot is in an inverted position relative to the rearfoot when it is in neutral, then this is generally called forefoot varus.

Forefoot varus is a foot deformity characterized by an inward tilt or deviation of the forefoot, specifically the front part of the foot where the toes are located. Normally, the forefoot is aligned in a neutral position with the ground. However, in forefoot varus, the forefoot angles inward, creating a high arch and causing the outer edge of the foot to bear more weight during standing and walking.

Understanding forefoot varus:

  1. Alignment: In a foot with forefoot varus, the heel and rearfoot (the part of the foot closer to the ankle) remain in a relatively normal position, while the forefoot deviates inward.
  2. Causes: Forefoot varus can occur due to various factors, including genetic or hereditary factors, structural abnormalities, or abnormal development of the foot bones. In some cases, it may also result from conditions such as cerebral palsy or certain neurological disorders.
  3. Symptoms: Forefoot varus can lead to various symptoms and issues, including foot pain, instability, difficulty finding comfortable footwear, calluses or corns on the outer edge of the foot, and an increased risk of ankle sprains.
  4. Gait Abnormalities: The inward tilt of the forefoot in forefoot varus can affect the alignment and function of the entire foot and lower limb. This can result in abnormal walking patterns, such as supination (rolling the foot outward) or excessive pressure on the outer edge of the foot during gait.
  5. Diagnosis: A diagnosis of forefoot varus is typically made through a thorough examination by a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist. The examination may include assessing foot alignment, conducting gait analysis, and potentially ordering imaging studies (such as X-rays) to further evaluate the foot structure.
  6. Treatment: Treatment for forefoot varus aims to address the underlying structural alignment issues and alleviate symptoms. It may involve a combination of non-surgical and surgical approaches. Non-surgical options may include custom orthotics or shoe modifications to improve foot alignment and provide support. Physical therapy exercises can also help strengthen the foot and improve gait mechanics. In severe cases or when conservative measures fail to provide relief, surgical intervention to correct the alignment of the forefoot may be considered.


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