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Newborn and Infant Care

Should position of son`s feet worry me?

06/21/2007

Question:

My nephews son is not quite 2 months old and he is concerned about the postion of his feet. They bend back a little too much toward his shin bone and he wants to know if there is anything he can do about it before it becomes a problem.

Answer:

There are two conditions that are fairly common with babies' feet where the forefoot is in dorsiflexion, or pointing toward the shin foot. The most common is called calcaneovalgus foot deformity. It is a problem arising from how the baby's feet were positioned inside the mother. Nothing is wrong with the feet structurally and the problem is easily corrected with a series of foot casts to move the feet into a normal position.

The second one is called vertical talus. Here the foot has a problem with the talus and navicular bones being in poor alignment with one another. This is also often treated with a series of foot casts but is also likely to require foot surgery for best foot position and function.

It's a good idea for your nephew and his wife to discuss this concern with the baby's pediatrician. If the parents want, they can also request a referral to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon for evaluation of the baby's feet.

I hope this provides useful information to you and the baby's parents.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University