WHAT IS CLUBFOOT?
Clubfoot is when babies are born with one foot or both feet pointing down and in. Their toes point toward the opposite leg, and the bottom of their feet face inward. In some cases, it looks like the baby’s foot is upside down.
A clubfoot cannot be straightened simply by moving it around. The joints and tendons on the inside and back of the foot and ankle are shorter than usual while those on the outside and front are stretched out, holding the baby’s foot in this unusual position.
Clubfoot does not get better on its own. If it is not treated, it can cause discomfort and make your child’s foot function poorly as they grow up. But with treatment, there is an excellent chance that your baby’s foot will look good and function very well.
CLUBFOOT IN CHILDREN
About one in every 1,000 babies is born with clubfoot. Clubfoot does not have anything to do with the baby’s position in the womb. It is mostly a problem passed from parents to children (genetic), and it may run in families.
If you have one baby with clubfoot, the chances of having a second child with the condition are about one in 40.
About half of children with the condition have two clubfeet. Children with certain neurological and chromosome conditions are more likely to have clubfoot. Most of the times children who have clubfoot are otherwise completely healthy.
We begin gently stretching your baby’s foot toward the correct position soon after birth. After about a one-minute stretch, we apply a cast that extends from the hip to the toes.
We work with your baby each week, gently stretching the foot further and applying a new full leg cast.
After four to eight weeks of treatment, about 5% to 10% of babies’ clubfeet are completely corrected. Most other babies need a simple procedure to lengthen the tight tendon at the back of their ankles (Achilles tendon). These babies wear a final cast for about three weeks.
After your baby’s foot is in the correct position, they wear a brace nearly all the time for the next three months. Then they wear a brace at night and nap times for four years. The brace, made up of leather shoes connected by an aluminum bar, turns your child’s feet outward.
It is vital to use the brace to make sure your child’s feet stay in the corrected position.
After this treatment, two to three children in every 10 will need a minor operation after age 3 to adjust their tendons.