Clubfoot is a general term used to describe a range of unusual positions of the foot. Also called talipes equinovarus by medical professionals, clubfoot is typically congenital, meaning that the condition is present at birth.
Any of the following characteristics, would result in a clubfoot diagnosis. The degree of severity can be mild or acute and one or both feet may be affected. In almost half of affected infants, both feet are involved.
- The foot may point downward.
- The front of the foot may be rotated toward the other foot.
- The foot may turn in, and in extreme cases, the bottom of the foot can point up.
Fortunately, clubfoot can be seen in a prenatal ultrasound exam, which means that parents can prepare for treatment even before their baby is born. With early treatment, most children born with clubfoot are able to lead normal, active lives. Although clubfoot is typically painless for the baby, treatment should begin immediately because delayed treatment can cause significant problems and eventual disability as the child grows.
Left untreated, clubfoot will not straighten itself out. Its symptoms will become more obvious and have an increasingly negative impact on mobility and activity as the child grows. Early intervention can help overcome these problems.
Nonsurgical treatments such as casting or splinting are the first line of defense. The most widely used treatment is called the Ponseti method. Treatment usually begins as soon as possible after birth. Some children have enough improvement with these treatments that little further intervention is required. In rare cases, surgery will eventually be appropriate.
Parents of infants born with clubfeet may be reassured that, with expert treatment, their baby will have feet that are typical in appearance and function. When treated early and properly, clubfoot is no handicap and is fully compatible with a normal, active childhood and adult life.
Are you expecting or have you recently had a child with clubfoot? Dr. Jason Grossman has decades of specialized education and experience treating clubfoot and other childhood disorders of the feet, ankles, and lower legs. Click here or call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care at (732) 679-4330 to schedule a consultation or examination in our comfortable and convenient Old Bridge or Sayreville offices.