Critical points in treatment of MTA & Clubfoot
Current Problems in the Treatment of Metatarsus Adductus
The appropriate treatment for metatarsus adductus is based on the severity of the condition. Common treatment options may include observation, stretching, strapping, casting and/or surgery. Mild and moderate cases (which comprise around 85% of affected infants) are typically treated initially with stretching exercises performed by the child’s parents.
Despite its common practice, the effectiveness of stretching is highly questionable and many parents are unable to effectively maintain stretching treatments for their child. If the deformity is not corrected within 2 to 4 months, active medical intervention (like serial casting or bracing) is administered. Leg casts may be applied for a period of 6 to 12 weeks (while renewing the cast every two weeks).
However, any treatment is most effective prior to 6 months of age and rather ineffective past the age of 9 months. Severe and rigid MTA cases (which comprise around 15% of infants) may be prescribed a serial casting or bracing program during the first weeks after birth. Severe cases may require night splints to maintain correction after the serial casting, while some physicians call for splinting alone (without cast). Failure of conservative treatment with children older than 2 years of age may require surgery. During recent years UNFO therapy has completely replaced serial casting and conservative methods for MTA treatment and maintenance with great success.
Problems with Serial Casting
Currently, serial casting is commonly considered to be the most effective treatment of MTA. However, this method suffers from a number of distinct complications and disadvantages, including:
- Defective Casting. An improper casting technique can lead to crowded toes, pressure sores, dangerous blood circulation problems and even additional foot deformities.
- Hygiene Problems. As the cast must be kept dry and replaced only once every couple of weeks, hygiene can become a problem. Urine and other foreign debris can enter the cast and cause skin irritation, and the infant’s legs can’t be washed.
- Infant Trauma. A cast is uncomfortable, impairing and stressful for a child, and infants often cry and scream during the casting and its removal by an electric saw. Heightened stress and discomforts of this type during such an early age of infancy can cause trauma and other psychological side effects.
- Parental Stress. As a parent, you don’t need additional reasons for anxiety regarding your child. Many parents experience anxiety and stress due to the uncomfortable cast treatment given to their infants, its uncertainty of outcome and possible complications during and after serial casting.
- Under-treatment. Many physicians believe that serial casting (which was originally developed for clubfoot, a different and more complicated leg deformity) is too harsh of a treatment for MTA. Physicians who are not familiar with UNFO Therapy, and wish to avoid casting, may often recommend minimal or no treatment for metatarsus adductus hoping nature and time will correct the deformity. With UNFO there is no need to gamble on your baby’s health and future.
- Time-consuming. Casting is an extremely long and time-consuming process, and unlike UNFO – results aren’t always visible during the first stages of treatment.
UNFO is a comfortable, sensible, and stress-free solution for the treatment of foot deformities like metatarsus adductus and club foot. The specially-designed, patented orthotic shoes can be applied at home by parents and removed for bathing or other activities. The shoes are comfortable and do not cause the child, or parents, any pain or trauma with full treatment and foot correction.