What is Metatarsus Adductus?
The Metatarsus are a group of five bones in the middle part of the human foot between the toes and ankle. Metatarsus adductus (MTA), commonly seen in newborns and young infants, is a foot deformity in which the metatarsus bones angle towards the hind-foot, resulting in the foot being “C” shaped with a concave inner border and convex outer border.
How is Metatarsus Adductus Diagnosed?
A physical examination is the method of practice a doctor will use to make the diagnosis of metatarsus adductus on your child. A thorough examination can be performed quickly. Despite its small size, the newborn foot is a complex structure. Most deformities can be diagnosed easily with physical examination alone, using few diagnostic studies.
During the examination, the doctor will gather medical history on both your child and family members to better understand if this diagnosis is hereditary. Although doctors perform a physical exam to make the diagnosis, sometimes diagnostic procedures via X-rays can aid in determining the degree of flexibility in the child’s foot.
An infant with metatarsus adductus has a high arch and the big toe has a wide spread separation from the second toe and deviates inward. A technique called passive manipulation, allows doctors to determine the degree of flexibility to diagnose children. When the heel and forefront can be aligned with each other with gentle pressure on the forefront, while holding the heel steady, it is likely the child will be diagnosed with “flexible” MTA. If it is difficult to align the forefront with the heel, it is considered “non-flexible”, or stiff foot.