Crooked feet in babies are completely normal during their first few months of life. These crooked feet reflect the baby’s curled-up position in the womb during development. Your baby was all curled and scrunched up inside your womb for nine months.
The knees are naturally bowed inwards when a baby is born. “Naturally bowed” here refers to the fact that the leg bones, owing to their curled up position for months, are bent in such a way that when you put your baby’s feet together, the knees are not touching each other. They are, instead, wide apart. Further, the front part of the baby’s feet might also appear to be curved in. Again, it is due to the baby’s position in the womb, where the baby did not have, literally, much leg room!
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In most cases, your baby’s crooked feet will correct on their own. As babies grow, they do a lot of kicking in the air, lying on their back. These kicks in fact help correct the curve in the bone. Additionally, slight stretches by you also can help in correcting crooked feet. How do you know your baby’s crooked feet can be corrected?
Take the baby’s feet gently in your palm. Notice how the front part of the feet slightly curves inwards. Now gently hold on to the heel and try to stretch the upper part of the feet so that the foot looks straight again. If you are able to do this with simple and gentle stretches, then you have nothing to worry about. The “crookedness” will self-correct itself in a few months.
Continue these gentle stretches regularly to help the bone correct itself. When the baby is sleeping, try to ensure he does not curl up into a fetal position again.
In most cases, crooked feet occur due to the baby’s position in the womb. This condition corrects itself in the next few months with the help of the baby’s kicking and your gentle stretching.
However, in some cases, the curve or the bend of the feet is a bit too much to resolve on its own. Watch out for these four symptoms:
In these cases, you should talk to your infants’ doctor, who will in turn refer your baby to a baby orthopedic specialist.
[Read: Caring For Your Baby’s Feet]
There are also other disorders that can affect the legs:
If your infant is born with toes pointing downward and inward at an angle, they may have a condition called Talipes Equinovarus (clubfoot). Not painful for the baby as such, but clubfoot can hamper your baby’s walking abilities and may cause additional health problems if not addressed properly. However, the deformity can be corrected with measures like casts, physiotherapy, or surgery.
If your baby is born with the front of the feet bent inwards towards the body, this condition is called Metatarsus Adductus. This condition, mostly happens due to the abnormal positioning of the fetus in the womb. It usually resolves on its own. But in cases where it doesn’t correct on its own, casts and braces help correct it.
If the baby is born with their foot bent upward and outward at the ankle, the condition is called Calcaneovalgus. The bend is towards the front of the leg and occurs due to the unusual positioning of the foot in the womb. It typically corrects on its own with gentle stretching. But in severe cases, casts and/or surgery may be needed.
There are multiple ways in which the above-mentioned problems are corrected:
Stretching exercises, if done regularly, make a lot of difference. At times, you might have to do them 4-5 times in a day for months. But they definitely will improve the structure of the baby’s feet and legs.
Your baby’s orthopedic will put your baby’s feet in a cast to correct the shape. It is called serial casting and the cast will be changed every two weeks to fit the new shape of the feet.
If the curve is very pronounced, then the doctor might advise surgery to correct it.
Most of these treatments give positive and desirable outcomes. The most important thing to remember is that the success of the treatments depends on how early you begin them. Infant feet are easier to correct than those of older babies. Adult feet are very difficult to correct.
If you are unsure about how crooked your baby’s feet are, and worried if they would self-correct, then you should, by all means, talk to your infant’s pediatrician and consult an orthopedic specialist. This will help rule out any serious disorder. And in case there is a disorder, you will be able to start treatment immediately.
If it is not the positioning in the womb, it could be hereditary. If the feet are not correcting themselves, it could indicate some issue. Check with your doctor.
There is no need for that. The crooked feet will mostly be due to the position in the womb. It will correct itself in some time.
You can start by giving gentle massages. This will straighten out the foot. Do not try to bend it too much as you might hurt your baby’s tender bones.
Most likely no. Most times these crooked feet correct themselves. However, if it is a bad crook that is not correcting, you will need a cast for the baby.
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