Club Foot

Overview

Clubfoot is used to describe a number of foot abnormalities that are present at birth. The child's foot is twisted out of shape or position, akin to the head of a golf club, hence its name. Clubfoot is a rather common birth defect and it's usually an isolated problem for an otherwise healthy newborn.

The condition can be mild to severe and affect one or both feet. Clubfoot won't hinder development until the child begins to walk. At this stage, the awkward position of the foot may force the child to walk on the outside edge of their feet.

 

Causes of Clubfoot

Researchers are still unsure what causes clubfoot to occur, but it can run in families. In fact, a baby is twice as likely to have a clubfoot if either parent or a sibling had one.

 

Symptoms of Clubfoot

Clubfoot is easily detectable, due to the shape of the foot.

  • The foot is turned to the side and may even appear at the top of the boot where the bottom should be.
  • The foot, calf and leg are smaller than the non-clubfoot side.

Clubfoot is not a painful condition. However, left untreated, it can cause significant discomfort and disability by the teenage years.

 

Treatment

For the best possible outcome, treatment should be begin as soon as possible without the need for foot surgery. To return the legs and feet to the proper method, a method of stretching and casting is used that's known as the Ponseti method.

During treatment, doctors at the Florida Hospital Celebration Health Sports Medicine Program will change the case every week for several weeks, carefully stretching the foot toward its correct position. The heel cord is then released, followed by one more cast for three weeks.

Once the foot has been returned to its correct position, the infant needs to wear a brace at night for two years to maintain the correction. This has been extremely effective, but requires that the parents actively participate in the daily care by applying braces. Without this important step, the foot and leg can return to its original position because the muscles need time to shift and reposition as well. Otherwise, they will pull the bones back into their characteristic clubfoot shape.

If you have questions about clubfoot or want to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to help you.