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How Infant Intoeing Is Treated

by | Jul 25, 2017

If you’re familiar with our doctors and practice, you’re no doubt aware that treatment of clubfoot in young children is one of our most important specialties—and a personal passion for both Dr. Spencer and Dr. Rodriguez. But there are other kinds of childhood foot deformities, including those that feature some bending in the feet.

Often, infants are born with feet that are curved a little inward. It’s not clubfoot—their feet aren’t twisted and their heels remain in proper alignment. However, the middle of the feet are slightly bent, so that their toes point a little toward the middle. This is called metatarsus adductus, and it’s the most common type of intoeing present at birth. Do kids with this condition need intense treatment just like those with clubfoot?

The full answer to that question, of course, has to be made on a case-by-case basis. But the short answer is no. As a matter of fact, in many cases metatarsus adductus does not require any active treatment whatsoever—quite a difference from clubfoot! Usually, the feet will slowly “unwind” and correct itself over the first several years of life.

That does not mean, however, that you can sit back, relax, and assume everything is going to work out fine. Most cases of metatarsus adductus will, ultimately, self-correct. However, not all will, and it’s extremely important to find and address those exceptions before they become a problem!

As soon as you notice metatarsus adductus, you should make an appointment for you and your little one to see us at Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists. This will allow us to test for any underlying problems (such as a neurological disorder) and establish a good baseline from which to make comparisons. After that point, it will be important for you to keep an eye on your child’s feet to determine progress. We may schedule some follow-up appointments to make sure everything is going well.

If the metatarsus adductus isn’t improving, it may be time to take some treatment steps. As with clubfoot treatment, at-home stretching and physical manipulation exercises are a common aspect of treatment. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, splints, special shoes, or leg casting may be necessary. Surgery is only a consideration in the most severe cases, and represents an extreme minority of all metatarsus adductus cases.

To schedule your checkup with Dr. Spencer or Dr. Rodriguez, please call our Ladera Ranch office today at (949) 364-9255. Taking care of your family and providing a lifetime of healthy feet for your children is out top priority!