Can you guess what Dudley Moore, Charles Woodson, Kristi Yamaguchi, Mia Hamm, Jim Mecir, Freddy Sanchez, Tom Dempsey, Troy Aikman, Michael Houser, Arthur Seyss-Inquart and De Witt Clinton Fort have in common? If your answer is clubfoot, you have got it right!
Clubfoot (Talipes Equinovarus) is a congenital deformity that can be detected by visualizing through ultrasound before birth. It is a fairly common deformity affecting 1:1000 newborns every year especially boys. Interestingly, there is a 2.5% chance that the next sibling will also have club foot if the previous baby boy has the deformity. The deformity can be seen in one or in both lower extremities.
How does clubfoot present clinically? The heel will point downward while the front of the foot turns inward. The achilles tendon appears to be very tight and the calf muscle on the affected side is smaller than the normal side if clubfoot is only present on one side of the lower extremity. The affected side also is shorter. The affected foot is short and wide.
What causes Talipes Equinovarus? There is no definitive conclusion of what causes clubfoot. Genetic factor is taken into consideration but this has not been confirmed.
How many different types of clubfoot are there? Literature has shown that there are 3 different types of clubfoot: a true clubfoot (idiopathic cause), positional clubfoot (caused by baby’s prenatal breeching position), and syndrome clubfoot. Among these three types of clubfoot, syndrome clubfoot is the most severe and toughest to treat.
Who’s at risk for developing club foot? A family history of clubfoot, Edwards syndrome, Cerebral Palsy (CP), spina bifida and oligohydraminos are more likely to be born and suffer from the clubfoot deformity. Newborns can also develop hip dysplasia if not treated carefully. As mentioned previously, clubfoot can be diagnosed through an ultrasound during fetal development, and X-Ray or CAT scan after birth.
What is the standard of care for clubfoot? Ponseti method is widely accepted by a large population of specialists. The method involves a two to three-month regimen of stretching/overstretching and repositioning using casts that need to be changed every week. When casting period is over, a surgical correction of tendon to release and lengthen the Achilles is absolutely necessary to break the deformity out of the equinus. Lastly, probably the most crucial step of the final stage of Ponseti method is bracing. Family’s complete compliance will dictate the success of the treatment plan.
If you think your child might have been born with clubfoot, please seek immediate professional medical care to avoid chronic complications that will happen in the future. If you are located in the Monmouth/Ocean county area, make an appointment today at Affiliated and Foot and Ankle Center located in Howell NJ to have one of our foot and ankle specialists help care for your child’s foot deformity.
By Jasen Langley