M is for Metatarsus Adductus

November 26, 2012

Metatarsus Adductus is a common problem in kids in which the forefoot is adducted on the rearfoot.

Metatarsus adductus is a common foot deformity that affects infants and young children. It is characterized by a medial (inward) deviation of the front part of the foot, resulting in a curved or “C-shaped” appearance. The condition typically affects both feet, but the severity can vary from mild to severe.

Metatarsus adductus occurs due to abnormal positioning of the bones and muscles in the foot during fetal development. The exact cause is unknown, but several factors may contribute, including genetic predisposition and intrauterine factors such as restricted space in the womb.

The condition can be identified by observing the position of the foot and conducting a physical examination. Signs and symptoms of metatarsus adductus may include:

  1. C-shaped Foot: The front part of the foot curves inward, giving it a characteristic “C” shape when viewed from above.
  2. Medial Crease: A deep crease or wrinkle may be present on the inner side of the foot, along the medial arch.
  3. Limited Outward Movement: The affected foot may have limited ability to move outward or assume a more normal alignment.
  4. Normal Sensation and Strength: Sensation and strength in the foot are typically normal.

In most cases, metatarsus adductus resolves spontaneously without treatment as the child grows. However, treatment may be considered if the deformity is severe, causing pain, or interfering with normal foot function. Treatment options may include:

  1. Observation: If the deformity is mild and flexible, the healthcare provider may recommend monitoring the child’s foot development and providing guidance on stretching exercises and positioning.
  2. Stretching Exercises: Gentle stretching exercises and massage techniques can help gradually correct the foot alignment. The healthcare provider or physical therapist can provide instructions on specific exercises to perform at home.
  3. Serial Casting: In more severe cases or if conservative measures are ineffective, the foot may be placed in a series of casts that gradually stretch and correct the foot position. The casts are typically changed every one to two weeks.
  4. Orthotic Devices: Custom-made orthotic devices, such as foot braces or shoes with special inserts, may be prescribed to support the foot and encourage proper alignment.
  5. Referral to a Specialist: In complex or severe cases, referral to a pediatric orthopedic specialist may be necessary to evaluate the need for further intervention or surgical correction.

Early intervention and appropriate management can help ensure optimal foot function and alignment as the child grows.


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