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Clubfoot is a congenital birth disorder that occurs in one out of every 1,000 newborns. When a baby is born with tendons and calf muscles that are shorter than normal, it causes the baby’s foot to twist out of position or shape producing clubfoot.
Ranging from mild to severe with the ability to affect one or both feet, clubfoot could potentially hinder a child’s ability to walk normally later in life, emphasizing the importance of providing treatment as quickly after birth as possible.
Clubfoot is congenital, meaning it is a condition that’s present at birth. Though there are no known ways to prevent this condition from occurring, there are key risk factors that may indicate when a baby has an increased risk of being affected by the condition:
Clubfoot symptoms appear in newborns at birth:
If treated immediately and effectively, clubfoot typically doesn’t cause any tremendously noticeable or lasting problems with regards to difficulties later in life. That being said, mobility may be slightly limited on that side, shoes sizes may vary, and the calf on the affected side may appear smaller from its initial underdevelopment. Of course, it is extremely important that clubfoot is treated properly to prevent more serious problems from occurring later in life.
Physicians can quickly diagnose clubfoot by detecting shape or position abnormalities in newborns’ feet. After diagnosis, X-rays may be administered to determine the condition’s severity. Fetal ultrasounds allow doctors to diagnose clubfoot while a baby is still in the mother’s womb, allotting parents more time to research and absorb the knowledge that’s necessary to find qualified health experts with the most efficient treatment for their child’s condition.
Our podiatric specialists use a number of cutting-edge surgical and non-surgical techniques to treat patients dealing with clubfoot. A proactive approach will be taken to prevent long-term disabilities from clubfoot, while improving the appearance and function of your foot and ankle. Non-surgical methods involve manipulating the foot into the correct position. This may include repeated stretching, casting, splinting and bracing for several weeks or months. Once the foot is correctly aligned, the infant may continue to wear a brace. The foot muscles can return to its original position, so the foot will have to be monitored by a foot specialist. When a clubfoot is severe or doesn’t respond to non-operative methods, surgery may help lengthen the tendons or adjust the ligaments in the foot and ankle.