Clubfoot, also known as congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV), is a congenital condition that affects infants’ feet. This condition, while not painful for the baby, requires early intervention to ensure proper development and function of the affected foot. In this article, we will delve into the definition, symptoms, and treatment options for clubfoot.
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Clubfoot is a birth defect that causes one or both feet to be twisted or rotated inwards and downwards. This gives the foot an appearance similar to the head of a golf club, hence the name “clubfoot.” The condition occurs during fetal development when the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the foot do not form properly. It is estimated to affect approximately 1 in every 1,000 live births, making it one of the most common congenital deformities of the lower limbs.
- Foot Deformity: The most apparent symptom is the abnormal positioning of the foot. The affected foot is usually turned inward and may also point downward.
- Tight Achilles Tendon: The Achilles tendon at the back of the calf may be tight and taut, preventing the foot from moving freely.
- Smaller Calf Muscles: The calf muscles in the affected leg may be smaller compared to the unaffected leg due to reduced use.
- Limited Range of Motion: The affected foot may have limited range of motion, making it challenging for the child to walk normally.
- In Some Cases, Bilateral Involvement: While clubfoot typically affects one foot, some infants may have it in both feet, which can be more challenging to treat.
Early intervention is crucial for the successful treatment of clubfoot. The goal of treatment is to correct the foot’s position, improve its function, and allow the child to lead a normal, active life. The following treatment options are commonly used:
- Ponseti Method: The Ponseti method is the most widely used non-surgical approach for clubfoot correction. It involves gentle manipulation of the foot and the application of plaster casts to gradually guide the foot into the correct position. This process is typically performed weekly for several weeks.
- Achilles Tendon Lengthening: In some cases, the Achilles tendon may be too tight to allow proper foot movement. A minor surgical procedure can lengthen the tendon and improve flexibility.
- Bracing: After the initial correction, a brace or orthopedic shoes may be used to maintain the corrected position of the foot. The brace is typically worn for several years to prevent relapse.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy may be recommended to help improve muscle strength and range of motion in the affected foot.
- Surgery (in rare cases): If non-surgical methods are not effective or if the condition is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgical correction of clubfoot involves releasing and repositioning tendons and bones in the foot.
Clubfoot is a congenital condition that affects the positioning and function of one or both feet in infants. With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the majority of children with clubfoot can achieve near-normal foot function and lead active lives. The Ponseti method, bracing, and physical therapy are effective non-surgical treatments, while surgery is reserved for rare and severe cases. Parents should consult with healthcare professionals to ensure timely intervention and the best possible outcome for their child’s clubfoot condition.
At Father CK Foundation, we help children (0-18 years) with correctible orthopedic conditions get medical interventions. If you know of such a case, please contact us via 0792119191. To support this cause, you can donate via:
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