Nothing can compare with the joy of holding your bundle of joy in your arms for the first time. As you get the baby home, every day brings something special but there are some apprehensions that new parents face as well. You may be worried about common health issues even with a healthy newborn, while there are some problems that may not be recognizable right after birth. Orthopedic issues are one of the common neonatal problems that parents come across. Fortunately, most of them can be addressed with nonsurgical treatments. However, timely detection and treatment can make all the difference in resolving them at the earliest. Here are the neonatal orthopedic issues you should be vigilant about.


A birth defect, clubfoot is characterized by the feet pointing down and inward. The tendons inside and at the back of the baby’s feet are too short and end up wrenching the feet into an unnatural position. The condition has treatment options other than surgery because of the flexibility in the bone and joint of young children. Clubfoot is treated using the Ponseti Method, which is a manipulation technique that involves gradual softening of tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. Apart from this technique, stretching exercises are also recommended for treating clubfoot. The good news is that early treatment often brings better outcomes and there is seldom a need for invasive treatment.

Metatarsus adductus

Another congenital orthopedic condition in young children, metatarsus adductus is relatively common in newborns. For this reason, new parents need to be all the more watchful about the indications. A sign that you should watch out for is the toes and forefoot of the baby pointing inwards. If the sole resembles a bean shape, there are good chances that the infant is suffering from metatarsus adductus and needs medical help sooner rather than later. Fortunately, mild cases resolve by themselves. However, severe ones require corrective shoes, splints, and casts to correct the deformity. Surgery is recommended for very rare cases.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition when the hip socket does not cover the ball of the upper thigh bone fully. Obviously, the joint development will not be normal without the proper alignment of the ball-and-socket. The condition is a serious concern because it can impair the mobility as the child grows older. It may even result in premature hip osteoarthritis, so early detection and treatment are absolutely vital. Early diagnosis increases the chances of effective treatment because the newborn’s bones are still developing. A simple hip click test that is done by moving and rotating the baby’s leg can give a confirmed diagnosis. Treatment is done by securing the hip with a brace (Pavlik harness) to keep it in the proper position. Surgery is the only option left if the condition is diagnosed at a later age.

These orthopedic conditions are painful for the child and traumatic for the parents as well. Although they cannot be prevented, it is still possible to address them with timely action and the right treatment. Being watchful and reporting them to a specialist early is important to get timely help for your baby.

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