- What is a Club foot?
- Club Foot Symptoms
- Club Foot Causes
- History in Family
- Smoking during pregnancy
- Club Foot Treatment
- Stretching and Casting (the Ponseti method)
- Stretching and Taping (French method)
- Club Foot Surgery
What is a Club foot?
This term is used in describing a variety of abnormalities of the foot which normally are visible at birth and where the baby’s foot is twisted in a strange position or shape. This term – clubfoot – is a reference to the fact that the foot is situated with a sharp direction to the ankle – reminiscent of the head of a golfing club. This is a fairly common defect at birth and is normally a secluded condition of a newborn who is otherwise healthy.
The deformity can be severe, or very mild, affecting both or only one foot. Clubfoot hinders the development of the child especially when it is time for the child to start walking. For this reason clubfoot needs to begin treatment quickly after birth. Treatment is normally successful and the function as well as the appearance of the foot will show improvement.
Club Foot Symptoms
In the majority of cases, the deformity twists the very top of the baby’s foot inward and downward, which turns the heel inmost as well as increases the arch. This foot can be twisted so seriously that in some cases it appears as if it is upside-down. The muscles in the calf of the leg which is affected are typically very weak and the affected foot can be up to 1 cm or one fourth inch shorter than the other foot. In spite of its look, clubfoot does not cause any pain or discomfort.
Your physician will be able to see the clubfoot if not immediately then soon following the child’s birth. The physician will then counsel the parents on the applicable treatment.
Club Foot Causes
Causes for clubfoot are not understood. But medical professionals do understand that clubfoot is not affected by the fetus’ position in the uterus. In certain situation, clubfoot may be linked to other inherited abnormalities of the skeleton system, for example spina bifida, which is a severe birth flaw that happens when the tissues which surround the evolving spinal cord of the fetus does not closed properly.
It is believed that in some cases factors in the environment play a part in creating clubfoot. Research has strongly suggested that clubfoot is linked to the smoking of cigarettes while pregnant, particularly when there is a history in the family of clubfoot.
Several risk factors include:
History in Family
If you or anyone in your immediate family have had this problem, the baby is much more likely to have it as well.
Smoking during pregnancy
Clubfoot is most common in males.
Club Foot Treatment
This problem of clubfoot normally causes no difficulties until the child begins to stand as well as walk. The child’s mobility can be limited slightly and the foot which is affected can be up to 1 to 1 ½ shoe sizes smaller than the foot which is not affected. After treating clubfoot, the child will usually end up with a normal foot, in function as well as looks.
When left not treated, the clubfoot can cause a liability. The child is not only more apt to have arthritis, but the appearance which is unusual cannot allow the child to walk normally on the soles of the feet. To recompense, the child will probably walk on the outside of the feet, on the ball of the feet, or even in very severe cases, the top of the feet. These alterations can inhibit the normal growth of the muscles in the calf, cause calluses or sores which are large on the feet, as well as result in a gait that is awkward.
In the majority of cases, the clubfoot is noticed immediately after birth by looking at the positioning as well as the shape of the feet of the newborn. At this time, the physician might demand x-rays to get a better understanding of how severe is the deformity.
It is also possible to see clearly certain cases of clubfoot prior to birth with a baby’s regular ultrasound exam. If both feet are involved, it is also more than likely to appear in an ultrasound. Of course, nothing is able to be done prior to birth to solve the problem, but by knowing of the defect it can give time to learn more about clubfoot as well as to contact the proper health experts for example orthopedic surgeon or genetic counselor.
Since the newborn’s bones as well as joints are very flexible, the management for clubfoot usually starts soon after birth. Of course, the objective of treatment is to return the functioning of the foot as well as the look and needs to be accomplished prior to the child beginning to walk. This needs to be accomplished in the hopefulness of averting long-term incapacities. Management options include:
Stretching and Casting (the Ponseti method)
This management involves the manipulating of the clubfoot into a corrected position as well as then putting it in a cast to preserve that position. Repositioning as well as recasting happens each week for a number of weeks. Later, after the form of the foot is realigned, it is maintained thru exercises involving stretching, splinting with braces or special shoes at night for up to 3 years. For the Ponseti method to be successful there is the requirement of applying the child’s braces according to the physician’s recommendation in order that the foot does not return to its original position.
Stretching and Taping (French method)
This is a method involving day-to-day management of the foot which is then taped with adhesive tape so as to maintain the correct position until the next day. In 2 months, the management of treatments is reduced to 3 times each week until the baby is approximately 6 months old. As soon as the shape of the foot is corrected, the parents continue to daily perform exercises and use splints during the night until the baby is the age to begin walking. This method necessitates total commitment to numerous appointments for 6 months. Many medical professionals combine the Ponseti methods and the French method.
Club Foot Surgery
There are cases, where the clubfoot is so severe or does not respond to the nonsurgical treatments that the baby will need surgery. This surgery done by a surgeon specializing in orthopedics can elongate the tendons to aid with easing the foot into a more appropriate position. After the surgery, the child will need to wear a brace for approximately a year to prevent recurrence of the deformities.
It needs to be noted that even with treatment, clubfoot might not be correctable totally. But in the majority of cases, babies who are treated early may mature to wear normal shoes as well as to lead normal, active lives.