Clubfoot, one of the most common birth deformities, occurs in 1 out of every 1,000 live births and is when the foot turns inward and downward. It is congenital and may be passed down through families in some cases. Risk factors include a family history and being male.
The condition can range from mild and flexible to severe and rigid. Each case of clubfoot may appear different from child to child. It may also be difficult to place the foot in the correct position. The calf muscle and foot may also be smaller than normal.
The deformity is often diagnosed right after birth, when a foot x-ray may be performed to view the extent of the disorder. Often the problem is a very tight Achilles tendon, and a simple procedure can be done to release it.
Treatment should be started as early as possible, ideally right after birth when it is easiest to reshape the foot. The best method of treating clubfoot is moving the foot into the correct position and casting the limb to hold it in place. Recasting and gentle stretching will be done every week to improve the position of the foot. 5 to 10 casts are typically needed, with the final cast left on for 3 weeks. After the foot is in the correct position the child will wear a special brace all day for 3 months, then at night and during naps for up to 3 years.
Severe cases of clubfoot will require further surgery to correct the deformity if conservative treatments do not work or if the problem returns. A small number of defects may not be completely fixed and treatment will only improve the appearance and function of the foot. These cases are usually associated with other birth disorders. The child should be monitored by a podiatric physician until the foot is fully grown. Most cases are resolved with conservative treatment and the outcome is excellent.
If your child is being treated for clubfoot, call your podiatrist if you see any of the following:
- The toes swell, bleed, or change color under the cast.
- The cast is causing the child pain.
- The toes disappear into the cast.
- The cast slides off.
- The foot begins to turn in again after treatment.
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT