Pigeon toes, also called metatarsus varus, metatarsus adductus, in-toe gait, intoeing or false clubfoot, is a condition which causes the toes to point inward when walking. It is most common in infants and children under two years of age and, when not the result of simple muscle weakness, normally arises from one of three underlying conditions, a twisted shin bone, an excessive anteversion (femoral head is more than 15 degrees from the angle of torsion) resulting in the twisting of the thigh bone when the front part of a person's foot is turned in.
Symptoms of a Pigeon Toe
The front of the foot is bent or angled in toward the middle of the foot. The back of the foot and the ankles are normal. About half of pigeon toed children have the problem in both feet.
Causes of MTA
MTA is very common in the newborn, and is usually due to the feet being "packed" in the womb in that position. The forefoot adduction at this stage is very flexible, and with freedom of movement, this postural condition of MTA often improves over the next 6 to 12 weeks. In about 15% of cases, the adducted position of the forefoot does not improve. In fact, the deformity becomes less flexible. A crease starts to appear on the medial border of the foot and a bony "bump" on the lateral border of the foot, right at the junction of the forefoot and hindfoot. This is the classic MTA that may require treatment.
Treatment depends on how rigid the foot is when the doctor tries to straighten it. If the foot is very flexible and easy to straighten or move in the other direction, no treatment may be needed. You child will be followed closely for a period of time. In most children, the problem corrects itself as they use their feet normally. They don't need any further treatment.
A pediatric orthopaedic surgeon should be involved in treating more severe deformities.
The outcome is almost always excellent. Nearly all patients eventually have a normal looking and working foot.
A small number of infants with metatarsus adductus may have developmental dislocation of the hip.
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