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If your child has clubfoot in one or both of their feet, you can feel secure in the knowledge that our orthopedic surgeons and specialists are experts in the care of kids with this condition. With the right treatment and therapy, your child should be able to enjoy as normal and active life as possible.
Clubfoot is a common type of birth defect that affects muscles and bones in the feet. Instead of being straight, a clubfoot points down and turns in. This twisting causes the toes to point toward the opposite leg. A baby can be born with the defect in one or both feet.
A clubfoot isn't painful and won't cause health problems until a child begins to stand and walk. But clubfoot that isn't treated can lead to serious problems — and even make a child unable to walk. So it's very important to begin to correct it quickly, ideally a week or two after birth.
Doctors often don't know what causes a baby's clubfoot. It's more common in boys, and can run in families. A baby with clubfoot usually has no other medical problems.
Clubfoot usually is found on an ultrasound around the 20th week of pregnancy. If not, it's diagnosed when a baby is born.
Clubfoot occurs more often in boys than in girls. Because the cause of clubfoot is not understood, not many of the risk factors for this condition are known. However, having a family history of clubfoot may increase your chance of developing it.
Clubfoot is usually easily diagnosed at birth during your baby’s physical examination, and includes:
The condition can sometimes be diagnosed before birth during an ultrasound examination. If you have a family history of clubfoot, you should discuss this with your obstetrician and your baby’s pediatrician prior to birth.
Clubfoot won't get better on its own. It used to be fixed with surgery. But now, doctors use a series of casts, gentle movements and stretches of the foot, and a brace to slowly move the foot into the right position— this is called the Ponseti method.
A baby with clubfoot will be treated by an orthopedic surgeon (a doctor who focuses on conditions of the bones, muscles, and joints) who has been trained in the Ponseti method. If your baby has a clubfoot, make sure that your orthopedic surgeon has had this training.
The Ponseti method is done in two phases: the casting phase and the bracing phase.
Your child will need to wear the brace all the time for about 3 months, and then only at night or during naps for a few years. Most kids adapt well to wearing the brace, though it can take them a day or two to get used to it.
Our orthopedic team works closely with Cook Children’s Home Health team in order to fit your child with bracing or orthotics custom fit to their unique needs.
Learn more about bracing services →
Permanently fixing a clubfoot can take several years. But a clubfoot that isn't corrected can cause physical and emotional problems.
By following the orthopedic surgeon's treatment plan, you can help make sure that your child will be able to walk, run, and play without pain. Consider yourself a partner in your child's care.
And remember — the orthopedic team has heard it all. If you have questions or concerns, they can offer you helpful advice or talk about the many Ponseti method successes they've seen.
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If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4405.