What is calcaneovalgus foot?
Calcaneovalgus foot is one of the most common deformities of the foot seen in newborns. Babies with this condition are born with their foot and ankle excessively bent up, where the toes are usually touching the shin. This deformity may also present in older children, but is usually a manifestation of another condition.
Although the true cause of calcaneovalgus foot is indetermined, the theory is that this is part of intrauterine “packaging” disorder, in other words, it reflects the babies foot position in the womb.
Signs and symptoms
Calcaneovalgus foot is obvious at birth. The foot is usually partially corrected, so the foot can be brought to the “normal” 90 degrees ankle position. It can present as unilateral or bilateral and it may be associated with other conditions, namely: posterior-medial bowing of the tibia (the leg is curved and shorter in the affected site), vertical talus (the talus bone is not in its correct position causing the entire foot to look deformed), muscle imbalance or nerve injury (usually seen in older children).
Testing and diagnosis
While most children with calcaneovalgus outgrow the deformity, it is important for a trained clinician to examine your child to rule out more serious conditions.
At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, pediatricians and pediatric orthopedic physicians may examine children with calcaneovalgus foot. Your child’s doctor will perform a complete medical history, physical examination and visual evaluation of your child.
Clinicians will ask if anyone else in your family is affected, look for other associated deformities, and examine your child from head to toes.
If there are any concerns of a more complex cause for this deformity, further investigation may be warranted utilizing:
- X-rays, which produce images of bones.
- Ultrasound, usually used for examination of babies’ hips and spine prior to their ossification/full development
For most children with typical calcaneovalgus foot, no treatment is necessary, except for some home stretching exercises. The condition usually improves within the first several weeks of life. If there are other causes or associated conditions, those will be approached and managed as indicated.
Most children with calcaneovalgus feet will not need long-term follow-up care. Except for children who present the deformity later in life and have other associated conditions.
At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), we offer a wealth of ongoing support and services for your child and family at our Main Campus and throughout our CHOP Care Network. Our team is committed to partnering with you to provide the most current, comprehensive and specialized care possible for your child. We recognize your child's pediatrician as an important part of the clinical team and provide regular updates on your child's progress.
Reviewed by Alexandre Arkader, MD