Metatarsus Adductus (MTA) is a common foot deformity, occurring in about seven percent of all newborn infants. With MTA, the outer edge of the forefoot is turned in, and the border of the foot is no longer straight. One or both feet may be affected.
The cause of the MTA is unknown. It has been suggested that it may be congenital - the result of heredity - or caused simply by the position of the infant while in the womb.
In many infants with MTA, the problem may correct itself without treatment by the time the baby is six months old - despite the apparent severity of the case.
Stretching exercises may also prove helpful. By exercising the baby's foot, the muscles which turn the foot outward may be stimulated. The following stretching exercise is recommended:
If the deformity persists after six to nine months of age, the use of plaster casts, orthotic devices or corrective shoes may be prescribed by the child's physician.
The baby will wear casts for six to 12 weeks, and the casts will be changed every two weeks. The cast may extend up to the knee or top of the thigh with the knee in a bent position.
Once the position of the foot is corrected, the use of prescription shoes may be required to prevent a recurrence of MTA. If treatment is successful, the child should be able to wear non-prescription shoes by the age of one year.
Occasionally, surgery may be required in late-diagnosed cases which are unresponsive or resistant to non-operative treatment. An orthopaedic surgeon can provide information on other options for treating MTA.