Updated: 2/10/2019

Metatarsus Adductus

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Key Images
https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/4061/images/Rigid metatarsus adductus - courtesy Miller_moved.png
https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/4061/images/thigh foot axis 2_moved.jpg
https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/4061/images/heel foot bisector 2_moved.jpg
https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/4061/images/Flexible metatarsus adductus_moved.png
  • Adduction of forefoot (at tarsometatarsal joint) with normal hindfoot alignment
    • mechanism thought to be related to packaging disorder caused by intra-uterine positioning
  • Epidemiology
    • incidence
      • occurs in approximately 1 in 1,000 births
      • equal frequency in males and females
      • bilateral approximately 50% of cases
    • increased incidence in
      • late pregnancy
      • first pregnancies
      • twin pregnancies
      • oligohydramnios
    • associated conditions
      • DDH (15-20%)
      • torticollis
  • Prognosis
    • long-term studies show that residual metatarsus adductus is not related to pain or decreased foot function
    • associated with late medial cuneiform obliquity (not hallux valgus)
  • Serpentine Foot (complex skew foot)
    • a condition that can be considered on the axis of severity of metatarsus adductus
    • residual tarsometatarsal adductus, talonavicular lateral subluxation, and hindfoot valgus
    • different from metatarsus adductus in that nonoperative treatment and casting are ineffective at correcting deformity
  • Symptoms
    • parents complain of intoeing, usually in first year of life
  • Physical exam
    • tickling to foot can allow evaluation of active correction
    • evaluation for intoeing
      • metatarsus adductus
        • forefoot is adducted
        • lateral foot border is convex instead of straight
        • a medial soft-tissue crease indicates a more rigid deformity
        • normal hindfoot and subtalar motion
      • femoral anteversion
        • hip motion shows >70° internal rotation (normal is 30-60°) and decreased external rotation
        • patella internally rotated
      • tibial torsion
        • observe foot-thigh angle in prone position
        • > 10° of internal rotation is indicative of tibial torsion (normal is 0-20° of external rotation)
  • Bleck classification by heel bisector method (Beck, JPO 1983)
    • normal - heel bisector line through 2nd and 3rd toe webspace
    • mild - heel bisector line through 3rd toe
    • moderate - heel bisector through 3rd and 4th toe webspace
    • severe - heel bisector through 4th and 5th toe webspace
  • Berg classification
Berg Classification
Simple MTA MTA
Complex MTA MTA, lateral shift of midfoot
Skew foot MTA, valgus hindfoot
Complex skew foot (serpentine foot) MTA, lateral shift, valgus hindfoot

  • Radiographs
    • only indicated in older children
Differential diagnosis
Causes of Intoeing
Condition Key findings
Internal Tibial Torsion  Thigh-foot angle < -10 degrees

Femoral Anteversion  Internal rotation >70 degrees and < 20 degrees of external rotation (tested in prone position)
Metatarsus Adductus  Medial deviation of the forefoot with normal          alignment of the hindfoot
  • In-toeing associated with the following necessitates further work-up
    • pain
    • limb length discrepancy
    • progressive deformity
    • family history positive for rickets/skeletal dysplasias/mucopolysaccharidoses
    • limb rotational profiles 2 standard deviations outside of normal 
  • Foot deformities
    • clubfoot
    • skewfoot
    • atavistic great toe (congenital hallux varus)
  • Nonoperative
    • a benign condition that resolves spontaneously in 90% of cases by age 4  
    • another 5% resolve in the early walking years (age 1-4 years)
Nonoperative Treatment
Flexible deformities that can actively be corrected to midline  No treatment required
Flexible deformities that can passively be corrected to midline 

Serial stretching by parents at home

Rigid deformity with medial crease 

Serial casting with the goal of obtaining a straight lateral border of foot

  • Operative
    • metatarsus adductus
      • tarsometatarsal capsulotomies
        • indications
          • aged 2-4yr with failed nonop management
      • lateral column shortening and medial column opening osteotomies, multiple metatarsal osteotomies
        • indications
          • age > 5yrs (as the deformity may correct with growth until this age)
          • resistant cases that fail nonoperative treatment (usually with medial skin crease)
          • severe deformity produces difficulty with shoeware and pain
        • technique
          • lateral column shortening done with cuboid closing wedge osteotomy
          • medial column lengthening includes a cuneiform opening wedge osteotomy with medial capsular release and abductor hallucis longus recession (for atavistic first toe)
    • serpentine foot
      • opening wedge and closing wedge osteotomies
        • indications
          • indicated if serpentine deformity is symptomatic and significantly limits function
          • operative treatment is difficult and often times deformity is accepted and observed
        • technique 
          • calcaneal osteotomy for hindfoot valgus
          • possible midfoot osteotomies to correct midfoot and forefoot deformities
          • multiple metatarsal osteotomies with forefoot pinning and tarsometatarsal capsular release (Hamen procedure) 
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