Metatarsus Adductus

What is metatarsus adductus?

Metatarsus adductus, also known as metatarsus varus, is a common foot deformity that causes the front half of the foot, or forefoot, to turn inward. The deformity is typically visible at birth.

  • May be "flexible" (the foot can be straightened to a degree by hand) or "non-flexible" (the foot cannot be straightened by hand).
  • Occurs in about one of every 1,000 to 2,000 live births.
  • Babies with metatarsus adductus are at an increased risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip.

What causes metatarsus adductus?

The cause of metatarsus adductus remains unknown. However, several factors may put your child at greater risk, including

  • family history of metatarsus adductus
  • position of the baby in the uterus, especially with breech presentations
  • insufficient amniotic fluid when the child is in the uterus
  • sleeping position of the baby (babies sleeping on their stomach may increase the tendency of the feet to turn inward).

Does metatarsus adductus cause any other complications?

Babies with metatarsus adductus may be at an increased risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), a condition of the hip joint in which the top of the thigh (femur) slips in and out of its socket, because the socket is too shallow to keep the joint intact. DDH can cause differences in leg length, or cause your child to walk with a limp.

Boston Children’s approach to metatarsus adductus

At Boston Children’s Hospital, the specialists in our Lower Extremity Program treat a variety lower extremity conditions and can provide expert diagnosis, treatment, and care for your child. We’ll work with you to review the available options and decide the best course of treatment for your child, based on their individual needs.