The tiny pitter-patter of feet is something every new parent anxiously awaits. However, sometimes those little toes have troubles that need extra attention. A thorough examination of each newborn foot is essential to diagnosing conditions early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.
A podiatrist will evaluate such aspects as skinfolds and coloring, range of motion, and symmetry, all of which can reveal signs of underlying problems. Although it can be difficult for new parents, it will ease your mind to note that most newborn foot conditions can be treated conservatively with measures as simple as stretching or splints.
Metatarsus Adductus—This is signified by toes angling inward causing the foot to look C-shaped. A splay can be apparent between the big toe and the others. Treatment can range from “wait and see,” to stretches or casting and bracing.
Clubfoot—A congenital deformity, clubfoot is a complex condition involving inversion of the heel and hind foot, inversion and adduction of the forefoot, limited extension of the ankle, and a tight Achilles tendon. The foot has a down and inward appearance, while the leg rotates inward. Casting is used for correction, and in severe cases, surgery.
Calcaneovalgus—With this condition, the foot is in a hyperextended position with an upward and outward appearance. Depending on the severity, this positional deformity responds well to treatments, sometimes, in mild cases, even resolving on its own.
Congenital Vertical Talus—Also known as rocker-bottom foot, this rare deformity is rigid, so stretching is not effective. It is characterized by a reversed arch, with the forefoot flexed upward. In most cases, surgery is needed to correct the problem.
Polydactyly—Sometimes, babies are born with additional digits. Cases that involve just soft tissue can simply be treated with ligation sutures. If bone is involved, surgical removal will need to be performed.
Syndactyly—Thought to be genetic, webbing between the toes can be corrected surgically, if so desired.
Overlapping toes— This can be passively corrected with toe spacers and gentle stretches. Taping the toes in correct position overnight is also thought to help. It is imperative that this condition is treated before the child starts to walk, though, so that the toes do not become rigid and require surgery.
Amniotic Bands—This occurs when thin bands of amniotic membrane wrap around the baby’s toes in utero. Simple bands can create swollen, bulbous ends to the digits, which are cosmetic and do not require treatment. Deeper, complex bands can result in neurovascular compromise and need to be removed surgically to avoid amputation.
If you are concerned that your newborn may have a foot abnormality, Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates can set your mind at ease. We will take care of your little one’s feet so that he or she can grow up doing all of the things kids love to do. Don’t wait. Visit a location near you in Daytona Beach, Port Orange, Palm Coast, Orange City, or Edgewater, FL. You can also find us online.
Photo Credit: Kookkai_nak