Also known as Talipes Equinovarus, clubfoot is a common disorder of the feet, in which the feet assume a deformed position. In severe cases of the disorder, the foot turns inward, while the bottom is contoured upwards. Other patients might have one foot that is smaller than the other, while in some cases both the feet might be rotated from the front to face each other.
The disorder is usually congenital and affects both feet in more than 50% of the cases. Even though the disorder is painless in infants, orthopedic treatment should begin immediately when the abnormality is noticed, since complications can arise with age, it is left untreated.
Causes: Postural clubfoot is caused by incorrect positioning of the developing baby in the mother’s womb. The disorder is also believed to have a hereditary basis, being passed on in alternate generations. This means that if one of your parents has clubfoot, chances are that it will also occur in your child. Clubfoot could also be linked to other disorders of the nerves, spine, brain, muscles, and bones. It is thus advisable that infants with clubfoot also undergo screening for spina bifida and other related disorders.
Symptoms: The disorder is usually not accompanied by any pain or inflammation. It involves a visible deformity that gets worse with time if left untreated. This could be downward-pointing toes, inward turning of the foot, etc. Children with club foot often find it difficult to participate in normal play activity, and can also have trouble finding well-fitting footwear. Development of corns and ulcers on the outside of the foot as a result of an abnormal walking pattern.
Treatment: The pediatric orthopedic surgeons at OrthoTexas are well-experienced in treating this condition. Treatment must not be delayed and should be started immediately the condition is diagnosed. Non-surgical treatment involving manipulation of the foot using casts, splints, or tapes, is done within 3 days of birth.
The treatment takes around 6 weeks and must be performed under constant supervision and evaluation, along with regular physical therapy. The success of the treatment is evaluated through an X-ray examination. The child usually has to wear special footwear for 2-3 years after treatment. Surgery is very rare for clubfoot treatment and might be needed in case of severe abnormality in the tendons and ligaments.