An assessment of the foot should be a part of every newborn physical examination. The newborn foot, although complex in structure, can be examined quickly in any office setting. Many foot deformities are diagnosed immediately after birth, allowing for earlier and often more successful treatment. A neonate with a foot deformity can be a source of anxiety to parents. Adequate knowledge of commonly encountered neonatal foot problems enables the nurse to give appropriate anticipatory guidance to the parents.
Foot abnormalities usually occur as isolated findings in an otherwise healthy newborn. However, these deformities can also be seen in newborns with underlying neuromuscular disorders and syndromic conditions. Common newborn foot abnormalities include equinovarus deformity (clubfoot), metatarsus adductus, calcaneovalgus, congenital vertical talus, polydactyly (supernumerary digits), and syndactyly (webbed toes). These common foot disorders, their treatment, and their prognosis are discussed. This article also discusses fundamental nursing implications needed to care for these young patients and their families.