The most common deformities in newborns are metatarsus adductus and calcaneovalgus, both of which typically resolve without long-term complications. Metatarsus adductus involves a curve in the middle of the baby's foot, causing it to fold inward. The key question is whether the foot is flexible and can be gently straightened. In most cases, flexible metatarsus adductus corrects itself by 6 to 12 months of age. Clubfoot is also recognizable by a stiff foot with a high arch. It can occur in one or both feet and may be detected before birth via prenatal ultrasound. The Ponseti method, involving casting, Achilles tenotomy, and bracing, is highly effective if initiated within the first few weeks after birth. Congenital vertical talus results in an upward and outward bend in the foot, similar to clubfoot. It's typically stiff and uncorrectable, requiring surgery and casting. Calcaneovalgus presents as the opposite of metatarsus adductus, with the foot pushed upward and outward. This condition often resolves naturally within a few months. Surgery is rare, except when there's significant shin bone bowing. If you have concerns about your newborn's foot alignment, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist for expert guidance and appropriate care.
Congenital foot problems require immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Paul Drucker of NYC Foot Care, PC. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Congenital foot problems are deformities affecting the feet, toes, and/or ankles that children are born with. Some of these conditions have a genetic cause while others just happen. Some specific foot ailments that children may be born with include clubfeet, polydactyly/macrodactyly, and cleft foot. There are several other foot anomalies that can occur congenitally. What all of these conditions have in common is that a child may experience difficulty walking or performing everyday activities, as well as trouble finding footwear that fits their foot deformity. Some of these conditions are more serious than others. Consulting with a podiatrist as early as possible will help in properly diagnosing a child’s foot condition while getting the necessary treatment underway.
What are Causes of Congenital Foot Problem?
A congenital foot problem is one that happens to a child at birth. These conditions can be caused by a genetic predisposition, developmental or positional abnormalities during gestation, or with no known cause.
What are Symptoms of Congenital Foot Problems?
Symptoms vary by the congenital condition. Symptoms may consist of the following:
- Clubfoot, where tendons are shortened, bones are shaped differently, and the Achilles tendon is tight, causing the foot to point in and down. It is also possible for the soles of the feet to face each other.
- Polydactyly, which usually consists of a nubbin or small lump of tissue without a bone, a toe that is partially formed but has no joints, or an extra toe.
- Vertical talus, where the talus bone forms in the wrong position causing other bones in the foot to line up improperly, the front of the foot to point up, and the bottom of the foot to stiffen, with no arch, and to curve out.
- Tarsal coalition, when there is an abnormal connection of two or more bones in the foot leading to severe, rigid flatfoot.
- Cleft foot, where there are missing toes, a V-shaped cleft, and other anatomical differences.
- Macrodactyly, when the toes are abnormally large due to overgrowth of the underlying bone or soft tissue.
Treatment and Prevention
While there is nothing one can do to prevent congenital foot problems, raising awareness and receiving neonatal screenings are important. Early detection by taking your child to a podiatrist leads to the best outcome possible.
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