Does your Child Exhibit Symptoms of Congenital Foot Disorders? Get Expert Advice from Family Foot and Ankle Specialists in Wyandotte and Southfield, MI.
Congenital Foot Disorders
Congenital foot disorders are foot and ankle disorders found in newborns, meaning the child is born with the problem. In many cases, these issues may just be observed while others may need treatment using non-surgical techniques. However, it is best to consult a foot and ankle specialist to be sure the right treatment is provided early on in the child's life.
Common Congenital Foot Disorders - Clubfoot
Clubfoot (congenital talipes equinovarus or talipes equinovarus) the tendons of the foot are shortened and the bones unusually shaped, while the Achilles tendon is tightened causing a well-characterized inward and downward pointing of the foot. Also, the soles of the foot may face each other. In most cases of clubfoot, both feet are affected. When not treated, the patient tends to walk on the sides of the feet or ankles. Other characteristics include:
- A downward and inward twisting of the foot
- Heels turn inward while the arch is pronounced.
- In extreme cases, the foot may appear inverted (upside-down).
- Calf muscles may be underdeveloped.
- While both feet are often affected, if only one is clubbed it may be slightly shorter than the other, mostly at the heel.
Common Congenital Foot Disorders - Metatarsus Adductus
Metatarsus adductus is a common foot anomaly that occurs in about 2 percent of newborns. It is characterized by an inward pointing of the baby’s forefoot and toes making it difficult to straighten the toes. Soles of the foot may also have a bean shape. Other characteristics include:
- A high arch.
- The big toe, once separated from the second toe, makes an inward deviation.
Metatarsus adductus is said to be flexible if the forefoot and the heel can be aligned with each other. During the alignment, slight pressure is made on the forefoot while the heel remains steady. This technique is referred to as passive manipulation.
Mild cases of metatarsus adductus usually resolve on their own. In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend corrective shoes, splints, or casts. Surgery for metatarsus adductus is quite rare.
Diagnosis is done through a physical examination where the doctor will ask for the child’s medical history. He or she may also inquire as to a history of the condition in the family.
Evaluation of metatarsus adductus does not require intense diagnostic procedures. However, feet may be x-rayed in cases of non-flexible metatarsus adductus.
Common Congenital Foot Disorders - Rocker Bottom Foot
Rocker Bottom Foot (congenital vertical talus) does not occur on its own. In most cases, it is associated with other chromosomal or congenital abnormalities. Just as the non-clinical name implies, the soles of the feet of children with congenital vertical talus resemble the bottom of a rocking chair.
Both congenital vertical talus and clubfoot share similar treatment. Treatments involve exercise, casting, and surgery.
Common Congenital Foot Disorders - Polydactyly
Polydactyly is a condition in which a person has more than five fingers or toes on either or both of the hands or feet. Presentation of the polydactyly condition varies and is characterized by the following features.
- Presence of a nubbin (a small lump of tissue without a bone).
- A finger or toe that is partially formed without joints, though it contains some bones.
- An extra finger or toe that is fully formed and functional, with joints, bones, and tissues.
There are three main types of polydactyly:
Small Finger Duplication (ulnar polydactyly) is the most common form of polydactyly. The new finger forms on the outside of the little finger. The toe version is known as fibular polydactyly.
Thumb Duplication (radial or preaxial polydactyly) is not very common. Studies show that radial polydactyly occurs in one in every 1,000 to 10,000 live births. The new finger is formed on the outside of the thumb. The toe version of this condition is known as tibial polydactyly.
Central polydactyly is a very rare form of polydactyly. Central Polydactyly is diagnosed where an extra finger forms on the middle, ring, or in most cases, index finger. Central polydactyl applies even when it affects the toes.
Treatment of this condition depends on the location of the extra finger or toe and how the appendages are connected. If the appendage is not well-formed, or there is no bone, it may be clipped or tied-off (by a doctor) to stop blood flow. With no blood supply, the appendage will die and fall off. Well-formed appendage should be removed surgically once the baby has attained the age of one. In the case of extra toes, this should be done before the child begins to walk. 4, 5
Overlapping toes occur when the fifth toe crosses over the fourth. This condition varies and may not be bothersome in some persons. In some cases, overlapping toes may create issues with footwear, thus requiring surgical correction.