Learn About Metatarsus Adductus

What is the definition of Metatarsus Adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is a foot deformity. The bones in the front half of the foot bend or turn in toward the side of the big toe.

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What are the alternative names for Metatarsus Adductus?

Metatarsus varus; Forefoot varus; In-toeing

What are the causes of Metatarsus Adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is thought to be caused by the infant's position inside the womb. Risks may include:

  • The baby's bottom was pointed down in the womb (breech position).
  • The mother had a condition called oligohydramnios, in which she did not produce enough amniotic fluid.

There may also be a family history of the condition.

Metatarsus adductus is a fairly common problem. It is one of the reasons why people develop "in-toeing."

Newborns with metatarsus adductus may also have a problem called developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), which allows the thigh bone to slip out of the hip socket.

What are the symptoms of Metatarsus Adductus?

The front of the foot is bent or angled in toward the middle of the foot. The back of the foot and the ankles are normal. About one half of children with metatarsus adductus have these changes in both feet.

(Club foot is a different problem. The foot is pointed down and the ankle is turned in.)

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What are the current treatments for Metatarsus Adductus?

Treatment is rarely needed for metatarsus adductus. In most children, the problem corrects itself as they use their feet normally.

In cases where treatment is being considered, the decision will depend on how rigid the foot is when the health care provider tries to straighten it. If the foot is very flexible and easy to straighten or move in the other direction, no treatment may be needed. The child will be checked regularly.

In-toeing does not interfere with the child becoming an athlete later in life. In fact, many sprinters and athletes have in-toeing.

If the problem does not improve or your child's foot is not flexible enough, other treatments will be tried:

  • Stretching exercises may be needed. These are done if the foot can be easily moved into a normal position. The family will be taught how to do these exercises at home.
  • Your child may need to wear a splint or special shoes, called reverse-last shoes, for most of the day. These shoes hold the foot in the correct position.

Rarely, your child will need to have a cast on the foot and leg. Casts work best if they are put on before your child is 8 months old. The casts will probably be changed every 1 to 2 weeks.

Surgery is rarely needed. Most of the time, your provider will delay surgery until your child is between 4 and 6 years old.

A pediatric orthopedic physician should be involved in treating more severe deformities.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Metatarsus Adductus?

The outcome is almost always excellent. Almost all children will have a foot that works.

What are the possible complications of Metatarsus Adductus?

A small number of infants with metatarsus adductus may have developmental dislocation of the hip.

When should I contact a medical professional for Metatarsus Adductus?

Call your provider if you are concerned about the appearance or flexibility of your infant's feet.

Metatarsus adductus
What are the latest Metatarsus Adductus Clinical Trials?
A Multi-Center, Prospective Registry to Evaluate the Continued Safety and Performance of the Foot and Ankle Products
Summary: The objective of the registry is to evaluate the continued safety and performance of the Arthrex foot and ankle products including the ProStop implant for hyperpronated foot, Bio-Compression Screw for reconstruction surgeries of the foot, TRIM-IT Drill Pin, TRIM-IT Spin Pin for fixation of fractures and fusion (bunionectomy osteotomies) of the foot/ankle, Headless Compression Screws and Compressio...
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What are the Latest Advances for Metatarsus Adductus?
Clinical and Radiological Evaluation of Results of Surgical Correction of Forefoot Adduction by Cuneiform and Cuboid Osteotomy Using Radiological Forefoot Measurements.
Summary: Clinical and Radiological Evaluation of Results of Surgical Correction of Forefoot Adduction by Cuneiform and Cuboid Osteotomy Using Radiological Forefoot Measurements.
Short-term effectiveness of the first ray tri-plane osteotomy and other metatarsal basal osteotomy for hallux valgus with moderate and severe metatarsus adductus.
Summary: Short-term effectiveness of the first ray tri-plane osteotomy and other metatarsal basal osteotomy for hallux valgus with moderate and severe metatarsus adductus.
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In-toeing gait in children with clubfoot and the effect of tibial rotation osteotomy.
Summary: In-toeing gait in children with clubfoot and the effect of tibial rotation osteotomy.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: July 25, 2020
Published By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Deeney VF, Arnold J. Orthopedics. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 22.

Kelly DM. Congenital anomalies of the lower extremity. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 29.

Winell JJ, Davidson RS. The foot and toes. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 694.