Clubfoot is a congenital deformity (from birth), where the foot points downward and twists inward. In extreme cases, the foot may also point up. It is also termed as congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV). According to the research, it is one of the most common congenital (from birth) deformities, and seen about 1-3 times in every 1000 live births. In this condition, the range of the unusual position of the foot varies from mild to severe. Clubfoot can affect one or both the feet and mostly seen in the baby boys as compared to the baby girls.
- Initially, the condition is not painful.
- As the baby grows, it causes pain and difficulty in walking, if left untreated.
- The affected foot is smaller than the normal, particularly the heel part.
- Underdevelopment of the calf muscles.
The exact cause of the clubfoot is still not clear. Earlier, it was thought that the Clubfoot was a result of the baby’s position in the mother’s womb during the development period of the fetus, which is possible in some cases. It is called postural clubfoot, and gets better as the child grows. But, now the experts say that the condition can also be caused by the combination of genetic and environmental factors. So, if somebody in the family has the problem, there is a chance that it occurs in their baby.
On the other hand, it is also triggered by some non-genetic factors during the pregnancy, like:
According to a research, it is discovered that if the mother with the family history of clubfoot smokes during the pregnancy, then the fetus has 25% more chance to have the condition. In a few cases, it occurs as a part of a syndrome, along with other congenital deformities. But, in the majority of the cases, the children with clubfoot have no other abnormality.
It is heart-breaking for every parent to learn that his/her child has any deformity. But, the good news is that clubfoot is treatable. The treatment of clubfoot is proven to be highly successful, which should be started right after the birth, because at this age, the child’s bone, tendon, joint is flexible, and can easily be manipulated. The treatments of clubfeet are:
- Conservative or non-surgical treatment:
- Manipulation by mother during feed since the child birth
- Plaster casts from the 2nd month
After 6 weeks of plaster, corrective shoes, night corrective splints should be used to prevent the recurrence.
- Surgical treatments:
Surgical treatment is done in the following cases:
- If the problem persists or relapse after the conservative therapy.
- In case of severe deformity.
- In neglected and rigid deformity.
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Read more about the conservative treatment methods in our next post!
Author: Dr Mehjabin Ahmed