A congenital foot deformity which is medically termed as ‘Talipes Equinovarus’ affects the leg portion of the child involving bones, tissues, muscles, tendons, and blood vessels. In this condition, an infant is born with differently twisted toes, in a mild clubfoot, the front half of the foot turns inward, and the heel points downward. In severe conditions, the foot is poorly twisted so that the bottom faces sideways or towards the bottom. Although, clubfoot can occur to one to four of every 1,000 babies where it is discovered that boys have twice the risk than girls do.
A bilateral Clubfoot is a condition where both the feet of a baby are affected by the deformity that can happen in 50% of the cases. One can find about the deformity during prenatal ultrasound weeks or months before the birth of a child. The Treatment can begin after a few weeks of birth when tendons and muscles are quite flexible.
However, clubfoot seems to be abnormally painful, but it is clearly not! In maximum cases, children who receive early and right channels of Treatment can play, walk, run, and function like healthy kids. Medical Treatment is required in the case of clubfoot, and it cannot get better on its own.
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What are the symptoms of clubfoot?
Symptoms of clubfoot is quite visible even before the baby’s birth; it can be shown as
• As foot turns inward and heel points downward;
• In a single leg, the calf muscle is smaller than the other;
• Affected leg can be shorter than on the other side;
• Affected feet may be shorter than the other.
Certain risks for developing clubfoot
Clubfoot cannot be stated as a hereditary deformity; however, if an older sibling had been born with clubfoot may increase the chances of another kid to be born with the same conditions.
Some factors that increase the risk are;
• In boys, clubfoot has a higher risk than girls;
• In the case of genetic syndromes such as Edward syndrome
• The risk of clubfoot increases if a child is born with other conditions, like Cerebral palsy or Spina Bifida
• A decreased amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus in the uterus during pregnancy;
• If a child is being born with the bottom first then head first
• Or defects promoting clubfeet like amniotic band syndrome, or arthrogryposis.
A child born with clubfoot has a greater risk of having an associated hip condition which is known as Development of Dysplasia of the hip. In this case, the socket that holds the thigh bone (femur) is too weak to keep the joint in position.
Causes of Clubfoot
Clubfoot is known as a part of a congenital disability or syndrome, whereas in some conditions it was developed in an awkward position in the mother’s womb. According to other theories, the cause behind the clubfoot could be;
• Defect in development of tendons, bones, and muscles;
• Mechanical obstruction in utero;
• Tightness in muscles due to less blood circulation;
• Nervous system cannot perceive signals in the affected signals.
However, in maximum cases, it is hard to define the reason behind the clubfoot.
Diagnosis of Clubfoot
Generally, clubfoot is diagnosed after the birth of a baby. In severe or other cases, the doctors may find it during the routine ultrasound scan. Clubfoot can be seen at the time of 18 to 21 weeks of pregnancy.
In some conditions, babies’ feet come out as an abnormal position as they have been squashed in the womb due to change in positioning. Clubfoot can’t be treated before birth, but parents could consult the doctor and prepare themselves for future treatment procedures.
Types of Clubfoot
There are two types of clubfoot, namely Idiopathic and Syndromic. Take a look to known about both the conditions;
• Idiopathic clubfoot
One of the commonly recognized conditions is idiopathic Clubfoot, where the cause of the deformity is unknown and is not related to any other medical problems. Babies affected with idiopathic clubfoot have been seen with the stiff muscles and tendons and for doctors manipulating and casting becomes a little more complicated.
• Syndromic clubfoot
Syndromic Clubfoot is more associated with genetic or chromosomal abnormalities and with anatomic malformations which is stated under the condition of a larger syndrome. Syndromic is a secondary level of clubfoot that severely affects the muscles or skeleton of the baby such as tibial hemimelia, constriction band syndrome, arthrogryposis, and diastrophic dwarfism. When it comes to treating Syndromic Clubfoot, doctors usually opt for surgical methods.
Types of Treatment for Clubfoot
Congenital clubfoot needs to be treated at the right time as the probability of correcting is the highest after the birth of an infant. The process of treating Clubfoot should begin in the first two weeks of the child’s birth.
The mild cases of clubfoot can be easily corrected with some external efforts such as stretching of the heel cord and casting or through exercise. It involves gentle stretching of the foot that is later on supported with a corrective cast to maintain the right position. However, it is a lengthy process and needs to be repeated every week and continues for a month and a half depending upon the condition. Until the deformity is corrected, the cast is replaced with the new ones while gradually stretching the foot to the specific degree.
Today, surgical treatments are mostly suggested by the doctors that will help the child to grow and have normal activities like walking, playing and routinely work according to age. The surgery involves the lengthening of the heel cord and correction of forefoot and hindfoot. However, the operation can be performed after the age of one year.
An outlook of the Treatment
After going for non-surgical treatment or Ponseti method, a child can have normal looking feet, and he or she can perform routine work efficiently without getting affected with any pain. In most of the cases, children have been seen enjoying activities, including running, participating in sports at their usual age.
Children who are affected with a single foot may be left with a slightly shorter leg which can be treated with another operation these days. In some cases, a child can have a standard size leg but a smaller foot, those children can feel fatigued quickly than other kids.
Before the discovery of the Ponseti Method, clubfoot was often treated with surgery to correct the positioning or abnormality of the foot. Generally, it came back and led to long-term pain and stiffness in adulthood.
With proper care and guidance, parents can go for the treatment for the clubfoot. However, it will take two to three years to treat the clubfoot, so it is advisable to concern the expert and right care centre for the treatment.