Congenital Foot Deformities

Congenital  Metatarsus Adductus (MTA)

The metatarsus bones are a group of five long bones that run lengthwise down the middle section of the human foot, from the toes and ankle.  Metatarsus adductus (or MTA) is a congenital foot deformity commonly seen in newborns and young infants in which the Metatarsus bones angle towards the hindfoot, or back of the foot.  This causes the foot to become C-shaped, with a concave inner border and convex outer border.

The cause of MTA is not certain, but is believed to be due to the child being tightly positioned in the mother’s womb during fetal development.  MTA occurs more frequently in twin births, first-born children, and in infants with family history of the condition.

Prospective studies reported the incidence of MTA as about 5 percent of live births, with 60 percent suffering from bilateral MTA. The global yearly incidence of metatarsus adductus is estimated at nearly 6.8 million patients.  Statistically, a child with MTA is born every five seconds.

Prognosis of Metatarsus Adductus

The natural history of MTA is controversial, and treatment methods lack satisfactory outcome data.  Many clinicians recommend observation in the hope of spontaneous resolution.

In spite of this, clinicians tend to agree that earlier treatment is safer, more effective, and easier than later treatment (whilst parents simply want to be ensured that their child’s foot or feet will develop and grow normally).  As an accurate prognosis is not predictable, treatment should be recommended in most cases.  When left untreated, MTA can cause complications like pain, foot discomfort, problems wearing shoes, and secondary deformities like bunions and skin corns.

The UNFO brace is an excellent treatment approach for metatarsus adductus.  The treatment permits either full-time or nighttime usage according to the severity of the foot deformity as well as for maintenance after active treatments.

Clubfoot (Talipes Equino Varus)

Club Foot (also called clubfoot or talipes equino varus) is a congenital deformity where one or both feet appear to rotate internally at the ankle.  This makes walking extremely difficult, and corrective orthotic treatments can help prevent the need for surgery.

Club foot occurs in approximately 0.1-0.3 percent of live births, and it may be more or less common depending on ethnicity.  In the Polynesian Islands, about 7.5 percent of babies are born with clubfoot.

Treatment of Club Foot

As clubfoot is more severe than metatarsus adductus, more aggressive treatment may be necessary.  During the past few decades, conservative casting and strapping treatment of club foot have been shown to be an excellent option for long-term results with minimally-invasive intervention.

UNFO has developed – and will soon be releasing – a sophisticated new foot device to correct clubfoot in newborns.