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Alternative Names Return to topMetatarsus varus; Forefoot varus
Definition Return to top
Metatarsus adductus is a foot deformity. The bones in the middle of the foot bend in toward the body.
Causes Return to top
Metatarsus adductus is thought to occur as a result of the infant's position inside the womb.
This is a relatively common disease affecting about one out of every 1,000 to 2,000 live births. Risk factors may include a condition called oligohydramnios in which the pregnant mother does not produce enough amniotic fluid.
Symptoms Return to top
The front of the foot is bent inward. The back of the foot and the ankles are normal. (With a clubfoot, which is a different deformity, the foot will be pointed down and the ankle turned in.)
Exams and Tests Return to top
Physical examination is all that is needed to diagnose metatarsus adductus.
Treatment Return to top
Treatment depends on the severity of the deformity. In most children, the problem corrects itself as normal use of the feet develops. Such cases do not need any treatment.
Stretching exercises may be needed when the problem does not go away with normal use of the foot. These are done if the foot can be easily moved into a normal position.
Rarely, this disease causes a rigid deformity that cannot be corrected with stretching exercises. In these cases, casting and even surgery may be needed. Other conditions may need to be considered in these children. A pediatric orthopaedic surgeon should be involved in treating more severe deformities.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome is excellent. Nearly all patients eventually have a normal looking, fully functional foot.
Possible Complications Return to top
Developmental dislocation of the hip may be associated with a small number of infants with metatarsus adductus.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you are concerned about the appearance or flexibility of your infant's feet.Update Date: 8/29/2008 Updated by: Thomas N. Joseph, MD, Private Practice specializing in Orthopaedics, subspecialty Foot and Ankle, Camden Bone & Joint, Camden, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.