Clubfoot – An Overview
Everything in a baby’s life happens one step at a time, literally and figuratively. From the cutting of umbilical cord to the first few bruises they get while playing as children – these are all milestones.
Everyone wants their baby to be healthy, both mentally and physically as well. But what if your child is born with a deformity which affects his or her legs? They won’t be able to walk or run, even stand properly for that matter. It will become difficult for them to have a normal life.
One such condition is called Clubfoot.
It is a congenital deformity which often occurs due to environmental factors as well, where the baby’s feet are unusually positioned or deformed.
Unfortunately, clubfoot causes are unknown or in scientific terms ‘idiopathic’. However, years of research and witnessing some cases of this ‘rare’ condition, specially in India, doctors have come to a conclusion that clubfoot causes are a mixture of genetic and environmental causes.
Some of the clubfoot causes are:
- Family history: Even though the family history isn’t essentially a clubfoot cause, it is however a risk factor. Genetics and family history is linked to almost every disease known to man and clubfoot isn’t any different. If either of the parents have clubfoot, it is highly probable, that the child will have it too.
- Congenital conditions: In many cases, clubfoot causes are congenital in nature. Congenital conditions are when the deformations or conditions are present during birth itself.
- Environmental Conditions: Along with family history, environmental conditions also play an important role in clubfoot causes. If a woman smokes during pregnancy, or gathers an infection or even uses drugs, the baby might have a higher chance of getting clubfoot.
- Inadequate Amniotic fluid during Pregnancy: This is another clubfoot cause which is seen in some cases. If the amniotic fluid is less during pregnancy, the chances of the child getting clubfoot increases.
Clubfoot symptoms are very visible. It is usually visible once the baby is born or even before birth as well if the condition is genetic in nature.
Some of the clubfoot symptoms are:
- One of the major clubfoot symptom is when the top of the foot is usually twisted either downward or inward, turning either the heel inward or increasing the arch.
- The foot might be turned to a severe level and appear upside down which is another visible clubfoot symptom.
- The calf muscles in the affected leg are underdeveloped which is an internal clubfoot symptom.
- Another clubfoot symptom is when the affected foot is shorter in length than the other foot.
There are limited clubfoot treatments that the doctor resorts to once the condition is identified in a baby.
The first clubfoot treatment is:
Stretching and Casting:
This form of clubfoot treatment is most commonly used by a doctor. Once the doctor identifies the condition:
- He will move your baby’s foot into a correct position, once done he will place it in a cast to hold the feet in the correct position.
- Once the cast is put, the next step in this Clubfoot Treatment is to reposition and recast the baby’s foot once or twice a week, for many months. It is a safe procedure, so do not worry. His or her leg will not break.
- The last step in this clubfoot treatment is to perform a minor surgery to lengthen the achilles tendon towards the end of this clubfoot treatment.
Post this part of the clubfoot treatment, the maintaining its proper shape is essential hence,
- Doing stretching exercises for the baby is necessary as a latter part of this clubfoot treatment.
- Putting your child in special braces and shoes will be essential.
The braces and shoes must be put according to the doctor’s instructions so as to ensure that the baby’s feet stay in its appropriate shape achieved during the stretching and casting method of clubfoot treatment.
If your baby’s condition of clubfoot is too severe to be fixed with non surgical treatments, there is nothing to worry in this case. Another clubfoot treatment which is the last resort is to get a surgery done where the doctor surgically increases the length of the baby’s tendon so as to get the correct length and positioning of the feet.
Once done, your baby will have to be in a cast for more than two months so as to get balance and movement and also wear a brace so as to prevent the clubfoot symptoms to come back.
Most times, clubfoot treatments are successful and your baby will walk without any kind of pain or deformity in no time. It is essential to consult a Good Orthopedic Surgeon or hospital so as to get appropriate clubfoot treatment after identifying the clubfoot symptoms correctly.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500+ bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man.