March 6, 2019

What is vertical talus?

Foot and Ankle | Pediatric Orthopedics

Vertical talus is diagnosed at birth. It is a rare deformity that babies are born with and is also called congenital vertical talus. One or both feet may be affected and it can cause flatfoot.

It is not painful for the newborn or toddler; however, left untreated it can lead to disability and discomfort later in life.

Anatomy

The talus is the bone that makes up the lower part of the ankle joint. Together the talus and the heel bone form the subtalar joint, which is important for walking. Because the talus is the connector of the foot and leg, it helps allow movement in the ankle and transfers weight and pressure across the ankle joint.

In vertical talus, the talus has formed in the incorrect position and other foot bones have shifted on top of it.

Cause of vertical talus

The cause of vertical talus is unknown; however, it is often associated with a neuromuscular disease or other disorders such as:

  • Arthrogryposis
  • Spina bifida
  • Neurofibromatosis

Symptoms of a vertical talus

  • The foot points upward toward the shin and can even rest on the shin
  • The bottom of the foot is stiff and has no arch

Physician examination

Vertical talus is diagnosed at birth or during an ultrasound. Your physician may perform tests to discover if your infant has other conditions. An X-ray may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis as vertical talus is often misdiagnosed as clubfoot or flatfoot.

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Treatment for vertical talus

Treatment focuses on restoring a child’s foot to a functional and stable condition. It is crucial that vertical talus is treated early so the deformity does not progress. Without treatment, a child walking on a deformed foot can cause painful skin problems, calluses and inability to walk normally.

Nonsurgical treatment

Surgery is the most common treatment for vertical talus. However, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatment first, which includes:

  • Stretching and casting the foot to increase flexibility
  • Physical therapy exercises to stretch the foot
  • Casting, bracing or stretching programs to correct the deformity

Surgery for vertical talus

Surgery is recommended at 9 to 12 months of age. Surgery is necessary to correct problems with the foot bones, ligaments and tendons. During the operation, pins are used to keep hones in the correct position.

Recovery

After the operation, a cast is applied to keep the child’s foot in the correct position. After four to six weeks, the cast is removed and a brace or shoe may be required to prevent the deformity from reoccurring.

After treatment, your child’s foot should be stable and functional for the rest of their life.

Learn more about pediatric orthopedic care at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

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