Clubfoot is a congenital deformity seen in newborns that causes one or both feet to curve inward or downward, with the sole twisting to the side or upward, forcing the toes to point toward the opposite foot.
This condition is more likely to develop in male infants than females. It may affect the child’s ability to stand, walk, or perform any physical activity, impacting the bones, muscles, tendons, and blood vessels.
Although clubfoot can be detected during ultrasound a few months or weeks before birth, doctors recommend starting treatment for clubfoot at an early stage, possibly one or two weeks after birth, for the best results!
This article will provide you with a detailed introduction to the causes of clubfoot in children, as well as the symptoms and the best treatment options available.
Causes Of Clubfoot
Although the exact cause of why many children are born clubfoot is still unknown, numerous studies suggest that the following factors may have a role:
Some studies have linked bone deformity to genetic factors; if you’ve had severe congenital disabilities or clubfoot as a child, your baby is more likely to be born with the same or similar condition.
Smoking and drinking during pregnancy increase your baby’s risk of having clubfoot, not to mention the biological risks associated with these practices. These harmful toxins have an adverse effect on the developmental phases of the fetus, resulting in birth abnormalities.
Some cases of clubfoot occur due to poor nerve signal communication between the brain and muscles, resulting in extremely tight muscles and tendons in the foot. It is common among children with cerebral palsy, myelomeningocele, articular thrombosis, spina bifida, and other conditions.
As previously stated, clubfoot can be detected prior to birth using ultrasound imaging; Yet, the orthopedic specialist will carefully examine the child’s foot following birth to make the correct diagnosis. The specialist will bend, massage, and extend the child’s foot in various directions to determine whether the muscles and tendons relax with movement or not. If the foot regains its normal range of motion and shape, this deformity may have been caused due to the infant’s position during pregnancy.
However, if the foot tendons do not relax or stretch, your doctor will look for the following clubfoot symptoms:
- The foot’s heel is arched downward, while the forefoot is tilted inward.
- The affected foot is shorter and narrower than the other.
- Tight Achilles tendon.
- Noting creases on the inside of the foot and the back of the heel.
- Calf muscles growth deficiency.
Most cases of clubfoot are effectively treated without the need for surgical intervention if they are diagnosed and treated early enough. There are two major treatment options for clubfoot:
For most babies, splinting or the “Ponseti” method is the best option to correct a club foot. Your doctor will stretch your child’s foot into the correct position and lock it with a solid cast to prevent movement. This process will be ongoing for several months; Every 4 to 7 days, the doctor will remove the cast, adjust the child’s foot into its proper position, and then replace the cast with a fresh one.
In some cases, the doctor may have to surgically remove a tendon portion that connects the heel and calf muscle to allow the tendon to grow to its average length.
Following the splinting treatment, it will take several years for your child to avoid developing clubfoot again if they don’t use a foot brace, which should be worn around the clock for up to three months, then only at night to keep the foot from moving for two to four years.
In severe cases, the doctor may suggest surgery to stretch the foot tendons as well as realign the bone and joint structure. After surgery, your child’s foot will likely be splinted for a few months before being stabilized with supportive shoes. Physical therapy may also be necessary for your child following surgery in order to avoid pain and surgical complications.
You can be assured that your baby’s health is in good hands thanks to the wide range of services we offer at Novomed, including comprehensive prenatal diagnostics overseen by a female obstetrics and gynecology team with years of experience, as well as clubfoot treatment by the UAE’s best orthopedic and joint experts only at Novomed.
Get in touch with us to learn more!