Clubfoot is a term used to describe a group of foot deformities present from birth (congenital) that cause your baby’s foot to be twisted out of shape or position. The tissues linking the muscles to the bone (tendons) in clubfoot are shorter than usual. Clubfoot is a reasonably common birth abnormality that usually occurs as an isolated issue in a healthy newborn.
In this article, Dr. Ratnav Ratan would like to briefly explain the clubfoot treatment that he practices in Gurgaon, Delhi.
Clubfoot is a condition that can be mild or severe. Clubfoot affects about half of all children, and it affects both feet in about half of them. Because clubfoot makes it difficult for your child to walk correctly, doctors usually recommend treating it soon after birth, according to Dr. Ratnav Ratan, an orthopaedist in Gurgaon, Delhi.
Symptoms of Clubfoot
Here’s what it might look like if your child has clubfoot:
- The top of the foot is twisted downward and inward, causing the arch to rise and the heel to bend inside.
- The foot may be rotated so far to the side that it appears to be upside down.
- The affected leg or foot may be a fraction of an inch shorter.
- In the affected leg, the calf muscles are frequently undeveloped.
Despite its appearance, Clubfoot does not cause pain or discomfort.
When should you see a doctor?
Based on appearance, your doctor will most likely identify clubfoot shortly after your child is delivered. Your doctor can recommend the best treatment for you or refer you to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon specializing in bone and muscle disorders.
Causes of Clubfoot
Clubfoot has no established cause (it is idiopathic); however, it could be caused by a mix of heredity and environment.
Factors that are at risk:
Boys are roughly twice as likely as girls to develop clubfoot.
The following are some of the risk factors:
- Your ancestors. If any of the parents or one of their other children has had clubfoot, the baby is more likely to get it.
- Congenital problems. Clubfoot is sometimes linked to other skeleton abnormalities present at birth (congenital), such as spina bifida, a birth abnormality in which the spine and spinal cord do not grow or close properly.
- Environment. Smoking during pregnancy increases the baby’s risk of developing clubfoot.
- During pregnancy, there isn’t enough amniotic fluid. Clubfoot can be caused by a lack of fluid that surrounds the fetus in the pregnancy.
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According to the clubfoot treatment specialist in Gurgaon, clubfoot usually doesn’t present any complications until your youngster learns to stand and walk. If your child’s clubfoot is treated, they will most likely walk normally. They may struggle with the following:
- Movement. The affected foot may be a little less flexible.
- The length of the legs. Although the affected limb may be slightly shorter, it may not create severe mobility issues.
- Your shoe size. The damaged foot could be one and a half sizes smaller than the unaffected foot.
- Size of the calf muscles on the affected side is likely to be smaller than those on the opposite side.
Clubfoot, on the other hand, if left untreated, can lead to more severe complications. These can include the following:
- Arthritis. Arthritis is likely to develop in your youngster.
- Negative self-esteem. During the teen years, your child’s body image may be a worry because of the unique appearance of the foot.
- Impossibility of walking normally. Your youngster may be unable to walk on the sole due to the ankle twist. In difficult situations, they may compensate by walking on the ball of the foot, the outside of the foot, or even the top of the foot.
- Issues are arising from changes in walking technique. Walking changes may obstruct natural calf muscle growth, resulting in huge sores or calluses on foot, and cause an uncomfortable gait.
Prevention of Clubfoot
You can’t entirely prevent clubfoot because doctors don’t know what causes it. If you’re pregnant, however, you can take steps to reduce your baby’s chance of birth abnormalities, such as:
- Avoiding smoking and being in smoky settings
- Abstinence from alcoholic beverages
- Staying away from medications that your doctor hasn’t approved.
Diagnosis of Clubfoot
A doctor can usually detect clubfoot shortly after birth simply by looking at the form and location of the newborn’s foot. Occasionally, the doctor may request X-rays to determine the severity of the clubfoot, but X-rays are not always required.
Most cases of clubfoot can be seen clearly before delivery during a routine ultrasound check in week 20 of pregnancy. While little can be done to prevent clubfoot before birth, being aware of the issue may allow you to learn more about the condition and contact appropriate health professionals, such as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
According to a well-known clubfoot treatment expert from Delhi’s gorgeous city Gurgaon, treatment for clubfoot typically begins in the first week or two following birth because your newborn’s bones, joints, and tendons are highly flexible. The goal of treatment is to enhance the appearance and function of your child’s foot before they learn to walk to avoid long-term impairments.
There are several treatment options available, including:
- Casting and stretching (Ponseti method)
- Casting and stretching (Ponseti method)
The most common therapy for clubfoot is surgery. Your physician will:
- Put your baby’s foot in the proper position, then put it in a cast to keep it there.
- For several months, reposition and recast your baby’s foot once a week.
- Near the end of the procedure, perform a minor surgical procedure to extend the Achilles tendon (percutaneous Achilles tenotomy).
You’ll need to maintain the shape of your baby’s foot after it’s been corrected with one or more of the following:
- Performing stretches with your child
- Wearing specific shoes and braces for your youngster
- Ensuring that your child wears the shoes and braces for as long as they are needed – generally for three months full time, then at night, and during naps for up to three years.
To make this treatment work, you must follow your doctor’s instructions and wear the braces as directed so that the foot does not revert to its original position. The main reason why this method doesn’t always work is that the braces aren’t worn as instructed.
More invasive surgery may be required if your baby’s clubfoot is severe or does not respond to non-surgical therapies. To help ease the foot into a better position, an orthopedic surgeon might stretch or rearrange tendons and ligaments. Your child will be in a cast for up to two months after surgery and then will need to wear a brace for about a year to prevent the clubfoot from returning.
Clubfoot may not be completely correctable, even with treatment. However, most newborns who are treated early on grow up to wear regular shoes and live active lives.