Positional Talipes Equinovarus

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 positional talipes equinovarus are not routinely referred for a hip ultrasound scan. Please speak to your health visitor or GP 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 positional talipes equinovarus?

  • Positional talipes equinovarus is a very common foot condition in newborn babies that may affect one or both feet.
  • In positional talipes equinovarus the foot rests inwards and downwards, but remains flexible. The foot can therefore be gently moved through a full and normal range of movement.
  • In-turned feet can be an entirely normal resting position for newborn babies. More persistent in-turning is thought to be caused by the baby’s position while in the mother’s uterus.
  • It is normal for a newborn baby’s legs to be slightly bowed, which can add to the appearance of the feet turning inwards.

How is positional talipes equinovarus managed?

  • Positional talipes equinovarus is a temporary condition. It will usually resolve itself within the first few months.
  • Once the baby is born it will have more space to move and stretch it’s feet. Give your baby some time out of their clothes to allow them to kick and move their legs freely.
  • Make sure baby’s clothes are not too tight around their feet so they have room to move.
  • 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