Information - What is Clubfoot?




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What is Clubfoot?

In the UK, the medical term for clubfoot is Congenital Talipes Equinovarus. 'Congenital' means a deformity that is present at birth, and 'Talipes' means simply the foot and ankle. 'Equinovarus' refers to the position of the foot, which points downwards and inwards. Talipes can involve both feet or just one, and is present at birth.

Bethany's footThere are other forms of the condition, where the front of the foot turns upwards, or the foot turns outwards, but the above form of talipes occurs most frequently.

It is a condition that has been known about for many years, and occurs worldwide, but very little is known about the cause. There is considerable evidence that the condition can be hereditary, and it is more common in boys than girls.

Where the foot responds well to simple treatment, it is likely to have been caused by the position of the foot in the womb. Links have been suggested with 'oligohydramnios' which is where there is a reduction in the amount of amniotic fluid.

The condition can be detected pre-natally by ultrasound scan, but is often not discovered until birth.

Treatment should be commenced soon after birth, and the aim is to achieve functional, pain free feet. Initial treatment in Britain tends to be conservative, with physio and strapping being the most common options. Sometimes casting is used instead of strapping - this will depend on individual hospitals and consultants.

If this is unsuccessful, an operation will be required. The most common is a 'soft tissue release' which involves lengthening the affected tendons and ligaments. A plaster cast will be needed afterwards.

Sometimes there can be a relapse as the child grows older, and further treatment may be required, Because of this, the child is normally reviewed regularly as he/she grows.

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