Condition Spotlight: Metatarsus adductus

diagram of normal foot vs a foot that has metatarsus adductus

What is Metatarsus adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is a common foot deformity that is sometimes referred to as “banana foot”. It begins as a Lisfranc joint (between the 1st and 2nd toes) and results in a curvature of the foot towards the midline of the body.

What does Metatarsus adductus feel life?

image of childs foot with metatarsus adductusMetatarsus adductus may not cause any pain initially.

However, if left untreated and as children begin to walk, it may lead to other issues within the feet.

This is because the foot/feet are not properly aligned, therefore the rest of the feet must compensate for this.

Finding footwear for children may also be difficult as this deformity may make footwear feel uncomfortable.

In some circumstances and depending on whether it is a case of severe metatarsus adductus, children may meet their standing and walking milestones late, or they might trip more than their peers.

What causes Metatarsus adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is thought to be caused by the position of the baby in the womb.

Sometimes, babies will put themselves in an awkward position, meaning that their feet cannot move much.

If they stay in this position for long enough, it can affect the position of their feet when they are born.

Who does Metatarsus adductus affect?

Metatarsus adductus is present in approximately 1 in every 1000 births. It is classed as a common foot deformity.

How is Metatarsus adductus diagnosed?

In many instances, Metatarsus adductus can be quite subtle, and is sometimes left undiagnosed. A podiatrist or a doctor can diagnose the condition through a thorough assessment.

However, when it is diagnosed, it will be classified as one of four different types. The types of Metatarsus adductus are:

Developmental Metatarsus adductus:

This is due to the tightness of a muscle within the foot called the abductor hallucis. This tightness pulls the big toe and foot into a banana position. This is the most common type of metatarsus adductus and often resolves on its own.

True Metatarsus adductus:

All of the metatarsals (toes) are skewed towards the midline of the body whilst the rest of the foot remains in a relatively normal position.

Metatarsus Varus:

This type involves a deviation of the toes and can also include a change in the position of the heel bone. This type of deformity may progress through time and must be treated effectively.

Skew foot:

This is the most complex type of metatarsus adductus, in that the joints of the rearfoot and midfoot are also skewed.

When diagnosing metatarsus adductus, it is also important that we not the degree of deformity to help with a treatment plan and to monitor for any progression.

The degree of deformity can be mild, moderate, or severe.

How is Metatarsus adductus Treated?

Children who are diagnosed with metatarsus adductus may not actually require treatment. This is usually dependent on the degree of deformity.

The treatment options vary with some of the common conservative treatment options include:

an example of passive stretching being performed on childs foot to treat metatarsus adductus

Passive stretching program:

Passive stretching or being able to perform passive manipulation exercises and can assist with improving the range of motion while the joints are still flexible, particularly in mild cases.


To help correct the deformity and support the foot as a whole.

childs foot in plaster cast to help treat metatarsus adductus

Plaster casting or splinting:

The foot is cast into proper alignment for approximately 6-8 weeks.

In some moderate and severe cases, surgical intervention may be required.

We can help you

If you are worried about your child’s feet and would like an assessment, book in to see us at Watsonia Podiatry. Call us on (03) 9432 2689 or book online. Our knowledgeable podiatry team is here to help you today.


Aaron Dri