Prospective study of a noninvasive treatment for two common congenital toe abnormalities (curly/varus/underlapping toes and overlapping toes)
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OBJECTIVE: To assess, in the newborn, the efficacy of a standard taping treatment used in children for two selected congenital toe abnormalities (curly/varus/underlapping toes and overlapping toes), and compare the outcome with the available world literature. METHODS: All children referred by their family physician between January 2004 and January 2006 were included. The newborns were reviewed by one author (WGS) within 10 days of birth, assessed for severity, and the toes were taped in a standard manner if the abnormalities met the study criteria. After one and two months, the same author reviewed the children, and retaped the toes. The children's toes were photographed before the taping and then after three months when the tape was removed permanently. After six months, the children, with their pictures, were sent to a second author (JTS), and were scored for the grade of severity and improvement using standard criteria. RESULTS: The world literature and standard textbooks indicate a 25% spontaneous improvement of these abnormalities. The recommendation is for surgical correction at a later date because intervention with taping has not shown success after the newborn period. No prior studies have been undertaken in the newborn. In the present study of 84 toes, the abnormality occurred in 2.8% of newborns, and 94% of the toes were improved or cured with no complications related to the technique. CONCLUSION: A simple, office-friendly technique of taping underlapping and overlapping toes in the newborn proved successful in 94% of the toes.
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