What is Metatarsus Adductus?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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Metatarsus adductus is a foot deformity that usually affects children at birth. The middle bones of the feet of babies with metatarsal adductus turn inward, causing the deformity. While the condition is thought to be caused by the way the child is positioned in the uterus, the exact cause is not yet fully understood. Treatments for the condition include stretches, exercises, or the use of a long leg cast.

The disease metatarsus adductus is a relatively common one. On average, one in every thousand children born will suffer from the condition. A vast majority of children born with the disease will suffer no 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 sometimes a stretching routine is 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 that suffer from this condition may also have an increased chance of developing certain hip problems, although whether this is a cause or effect is not yet clear. Once treatment has successfully taken place, the chance of a recurrence is quite small, although not impossible.


Diagnosing 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 metatarsus primus adductus is the problem. Once the diagnosis has taken place, an orthopedic surgeon may be required to view the foot in order to check whether surgery will be required. The treatment that follows will depend on the age of the child, how serious the condition is, as well as 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 aren’t able to fix the problem. Long leg casts run from the top of the thigh down 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 to elongate the muscles in the feet, which can help the bones to straighten.

Adult metatarsus adductus is uncommon because the disease is nearly always treated successfully when the patient is a child. If the condition is not treated, however, then adult treatment may include supporting the foot with orthosis. With some patients, the foot deformity may not cause significant problems and in this case treatment is usually not required.


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