What is metatarsus adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is a foot deformity that usually affects boys at birth. The midbones of the feet of babies with metatarsal adducts turn inward, causing the deformity. While the condition is thought to be caused by the way the child is positioned in the womb, the exact cause is still not fully understood. Treatments for the condition include stretching, exercises, or wearing a long leg cast.

Metatarsus adductus disease is relatively common. On average, one in every thousand children born will suffer from the condition. The vast majority of children born with the disease will not suffer long-term effects, as only about 15 percent will require any corrective treatment. The body can usually correct the problem without metatarsus adductus treatment, although routine stretching is sometimes required. In the most severe cases, metatarsus adductus surgery may be the only option.

Other potential causes include hereditary conditions and the position in which a baby sleeps. Children with this condition may also have a higher chance of developing certain hip problems, although it is not yet clear if this is a cause or effect. Once treatment has been successful, the chance of a recurrence is quite small, although not impossible.

Diagnosis of metatarsus adductus is usually a straightforward process because it is easy to see. For this reason, a doctor will physically examine the child to confirm that the metatarsus primus adductus is the problem. Once the diagnosis has been made, an orthopedic surgeon may be required to view the foot in order to verify if surgery will be required. The treatment that follows will depend on the age of the child, the severity of the condition, and the preferences of the parents.

One of the most common treatments for metatarsus adductus is the use of a cast. A long-leg cast is sometimes used if stretching or other exercises can't fix the problem. Long leg casts extend from the upper thigh to the foot and need to be replaced on a regular basis, usually every one to two weeks. The purpose of a cast is to help lengthen the muscles in the feet, which can help the bones straighten.

Adult metatarsus adductus is rare because the disease is almost always successfully treated when the patient is a child. However, if the condition is not treated, then treatment for adults may include supporting the foot with orthoses. With some patients, the foot deformity may not cause significant problems, and in this case treatment is usually not required.

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