Talipes is a common foot condition in babies where one or both feet are irregularly turned, twisted or pointed.
There are two different types of Talipes:
1. Positional or ‘Flexible’ Talipes
For Positional Taipes, the foot posture is flexible and can be repositioned easily into a normal position. The main causes are cramping in the womb and baby not being able to move his/her feet enough.
o Where foot points downwards and inwards (Equinovarus)
o Where foot points upwards and outwards (Calcaneovalgus)
– Caused by tightness in muscles around one side of the foot/ankle and weakness in the muscles on the opposite side
2. Fixed or ‘Structural’ Talipes:
This type of Talipes is a structural cause whereby the foot is fixed and unable to be corrected into a normal posture. This type of Talipes is unable to be improved with stretching and usually requires specialist referral for imaging, splinting/casting and may occasionally require surgery (very rare).
Another common foot condition that is similar is Metatarsus Adductus:
Metatarsus Adductus is a common foot condition that causes the front half of the foot (forefoot) to turn inwards. Like Talipes, Metatarsus Adductus is thought to be caused by the baby’s position in the womb and can be flexible or fixed to that position.
How can physiotherapy help?
- We can provide a thorough assessment of your baby to determine the type and severity of Talipes or Metatarsus Adductus
- Provide stretching exercises to reduce muscle tightness in the over-active side of the foot/ankle
- Provide strengthening exercises to help to stimulate/activate the under-active side of the foot/ankle
- Complete a hip screening assessment, as it is important babies with Talipes or Metatarsus Adductus to also have their hip joint screened
What can parents do?
- Allow your baby to kick and move his/her legs and feet freely throughout the day
- When swaddling your baby, avoid wrapping his/her feet too tightly
- Perform exercises provided by your physiotherapist
- Gentle massage to help reduce muscle tightness
To make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists for your baby, call us on (08) 6389 2947 or click here to book online.