Metatarsus adductus

When to seek further medical advice:

  • If the baby’s foot is stiff or not fully correctable.
  • If the baby’s foot seems painful.
  • If the baby’s foot position has not improved or resolved within a few months.
  • Please speak to your health visitor or GP who can refer your baby to the Acute Paediatric Physiotherapy Department for further assessment and advice, if required.
  • Babies with metatarsus adductus are routinely referred for a hip ultrasound scan, which should be performed when they are 6 weeks old.
  • Please speak to your health visitor or GP if you have not received an appointment for a hip ultrasound scan or if you have any concerns about your baby’s hips.

Other physio advice:


  • In the first 2 months of life your baby will spend an average of 700 hours sleeping. If a baby always lies in the same position (facing the same way) it can alter the baby’s head shape, causing asymmetrical flattening of the skull (plagiocephaly).
  • Please ensure that your baby sleeps on its back, but alternate which side it turns its head towards.
  • When your baby is awake, daily supervised tummy time is great for building the muscles your baby needs for sitting and crawling. It also helps to promote a more rounded head shape.

What is metatarsus adductus?

  • Metatarsus adductus is a common foot condition in babies and young children that may affect one or both feet.
  • In metatarsus adductus, the front half of the foot, or forefoot, is curved inwards.
  • The condition is thought to be related to the position of the baby in the mother’s uterus.

How is metatarsus adductus managed?

  • Metatarsus adductus resolves spontaneously in 95% of cases by the age of 4, without treatment.
  • Some babies and young children may need gentle stretches to gain flexibility of the foot.
  • In rarer cases further treatment may be indicated, such as a series of plaster casts.
  • Once the baby is born it will have more space to move and stretch it’s feet. Make sure baby’s clothes are not too tight around their feet so they have room to move and stretch.
  • Bath time is a good time for a baby to stretch.

Can exercises help?

  •  Gentle exercises for the foot may help.
  • These should be performed regularly through the day, and will be most effective when your baby is relaxed.
  • Hold each stretch for 10-30 secs, as tolerated.
  • Exercises should never be painful or forced.

Exercise 1.  Gently move the front of baby’s foot outwards so the foot is straight.  

Exercise 2.  Gently stroke and tickle the outside and front of baby’s foot and lower leg, to encourage the foot to move into a neutral position

Many thanks to the Paediatric Physiotherapy team at University Hospitals Dorset for developing these resources
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