When Your Child Has Calcaneovalgus

Your child was born with calcaneovalgus. This is a foot deformity (problem with the shape of the foot). The foot points upward and outward. In extreme cases, the top of the foot touches the front of the lower leg. The condition is congenital, meaning your child was born with it. It may affect one or both feet. Calcaneovalgus causes the baby no pain, and usually goes away on its own.

Outline of baby's leg showing normal foot.

Outline of baby's leg showing foot pointing upward and outward (calcaneovalgus).

What are the causes of calcaneovalgus?

The main cause is thought to be squeezing of the foot due to the child’s being “packed” in the uterus during the last few months of pregnancy. Calcaneovalgus runs in families, and more girls than boys have it.

How is calcaneovalgus diagnosed?

Calcaneovalgus is easily found by looking at the foot when the child is born. The doctor will rule out other congenital deformities of the foot.

How is calcaneovalgus treated?

Calcaneovalgus most often goes away on its own. But any child with a foot deformity should be evaluated by a doctor to make sure it’s not a more serious condition. It can be hard to treat this problem in an older child. So it is best if the child is diagnosed as an infant:

  • For mild cases: The doctor will prescribe stretching exercises to be done at each diaper change. The parent gently moves the foot down and in for a count of ten, repeating the stretch three times.

  • For moderate cases or when stretching fails to correct the deformity: The doctor may prescribe splints or firm, high-top, lace-up shoes. These hold the foot in the correct position.

  • For severe cases: The doctor may prescribe casting of the child’s legs and feet for up to several months. The casts move the child’s foot into normal position. Casts are changed every one to two weeks.

What are the long-term concerns?

  • If diagnosed and treated, the child’s foot usually works well and looks normal.

  • If it doesn’t go away, calcaneovalgus can cause problems with muscle development and walking. So your child should see the doctor for regular follow-up visits to be sure the problem goes away.


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