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Clubfoot in Newborns

childrens feetClubfoot is a congenital disorder that occurs in 1 out of 1,000 births per year. A clubfoot looks as though it was rotated incorrectly at the ankle. Several different factors cause clubfoot. Normally, clubfoot occurs due to genetics; however, some environmental factors are a possibility as well. Breech presentation and the position of the baby in a womb can cause clubfoot, as well as certain connective tissue disorders. This abnormality is often noticed during an ultrasound of the pregnancy at the 20th week.

A common treatment of clubfoot is reshaping. This is suggested to be done shortly after a child is born. The foot or feet are put into place and then casted on the legs for stability. Required check-ups occur once a week to stretch and recast the feet. This process is done for about 5-10 weeks. Afterwards, one more cast is placed on for 3 weeks. Once positioned correctly, a child needs to wear a brace day and night for 3 months. For the next 3 years, while sleeping, the brace must be worn. These steps are taken to prevent the feet from reverting back to its misshapen position.

While this non-surgical approach has proven very successful, severe cases of clubfoot may require surgery. Clubfoot surgery is usually performed after nine months of age. If surgery is performed, corrective shoes or a brace must be worn for up to a year afterwards as a supplemental measure. Secondary or repeat surgeries may also be needed to correct scar tissue damage as the child grows. In rarer cases, a surgical procedure may be needed as an adult.