Limb deformities can be congenital- present at birth or may occur at a later stage as a result of fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor. Congenital deformities of the lower limbs are the developmental disorders that cause alteration in the shape and appearance of the legs. The exact cause for this is not known. There are several factors such as genetic factors which influence the fetal growth in the womb and teratogenic drugs and chemicals that can cause congenital deformities.

Some of the congenital deformities of the lower limb include:

  • Congenital talipus equino varus: Congenital talipus equino varus, commonly called as clubfoot is the most common and obvious of all the foot deformities. The feet may become twisted inwards in such a way that top of the foot comes in place where the bottom should be
  • Flat foot: Flat feet, also known as Pes planus is a deformity of the feet, in which the arch running lengthwise along the sole of the feet has collapsed or has not formed at all. It may happen in one or both feet. Infants’ feet may appear flat which is normal because the arch is yet to form
  • Congenital vertical talus: Congenital vertical talus (CVT) also known as Rocker-Bottom foot, is a rare condition and is often mistaken for calcaneovalgus, but it is a rigid deformity and not as flexible as calcaneovalgus foot. It occurs most frequently with other congenital anomalies such as spina bifida and arthrogryposis (multiple joint contractures present at birth) and is more common in males
  • Calcaneovalgus foot: This postural deformity is located at the ankle joint and the foot appears to be bent upwards. It occurs in newborns as a result of abnormal intrauterine position. It affects girls more commonly than boys
  • Congenital genu varus: Congenital genu varus (bowed legs) is a condition seen in children below 2 years. In this condition, the lower leg curves outwards so that when a child stands with both the feet joined a gap can be seen between the lower legs and knees. It is a normal variation in the appearance of the legs and gradually improves by the age of 3 to 4 years. Night splints may be given or osteotomy can be performed in severe cases
  • Tarsal coalition: Tarsal coalition is a developmental deformity that occurs because of fusion between two bones (tarsal bones) at back of the foot. Most of the children with tarsal coalition are born with this condition, but symptoms appear at ages 9-16 once the bone matures
  • Metatarsus adductus: Metatarsus adductus is a common forefoot deformity equally seen in boys and girls. The bones in the front part of the foot are bent or turned towards the body
  • Leg length discrepancy: Leg length discrepancy is a condition in which one leg is shorter than the other leading to problems in posture and walking pattern. There may be associated pain in the back, hip knee or ankle. It can be corrected by a reconstructive procedure called limb lengthening
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