Receive your FREE copy
of Dr. Philip S. Pinsker's book today!

I wrote this book because
too many people suffer from foot and ankle pain unnecessarily.

~ Dr. Phil Pinsker

 

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT Online  Form

                                                                                             OR  Call today!  (724) 225- 7410 

FIND OUR OFFICE
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA, 15301

Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
(724) 225-9469 - fax

 

Clubfoot: A Common Deformity Requiring Early Treatment

    With today’s ultrasound capabilities, parents-to-be can get a detailed peek at their baby’s development and family features. Ultrasounds can also show any potential problems or abnormalities such as clubfoot. A clubfoot diagnosis can be scary and daunting. However, with prompt care and treatment, most cases are corrected and resolved leaving children with no lasting effects. English actor Dudley Moore, comedian Damon Wayans, American soccer player Mia Hamm, and Olympic champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi were all born with a clubfoot deformity.

A Common Deformity

    Clubfoot is the most common congenital deformity present at birth. The name of the condition is related to the physical appearance of the feet, which are turned inward and twisted similar to the look of a golf club. This condition occurs in about 1 in every 1000 births, and it affects boys twice as often as girls. In addition to the bones of the foot, surrounding muscles, tendons, and blood vessels are affected. It can also be present in one or both feet. The exact cause of clubfoot is unknown. 

    There are three general types of clubfoot. A true clubfoot, which is the most common, is when the foot is stiff, rigid, and difficult to manipulate. Second is positional clubfoot, which is a flexible type of clubfoot typically able to be repositioned by hand. Third is a more rare type called syndrome clubfoot, which is when the condition is present as a result of a larger syndrome.

Treatments for Clubfoot

    Fortunately, this condition often responds very well to appropriate treatment that is applied in a timely manner. Serious complications typically result when treatment is delayed or not applied at all.

    A good piece of news for parents is that surgery is rarely the first step in addressing this deformity. One very effective form of treatment is called the Ponseti method. In this situation, stretching and casting is used for a period of several weeks in the effort to slowly and gently move the foot back to its normal position. The cast is removed every week, the foot is repositioned, and a new cast is put back on. Generally, the Achilles tendon is also released during the process with several weeks of casting afterwards. X-rays are used to monitor the child’s progress along the way, and the whole process can take up to four months. Once the foot is in its proper position, a special shoe or brace is worn for up to a year to keep the foot straightened. Babies and children do very well with this treatment plan and often require little to no intervention in the future. In some cases, the affected foot and calf muscle remain slightly smaller. However, it doesn’t cause problems in terms of finding shoes or playing with other children. If the more conservative treatments do not correct the problem, surgery is an option to realign all the tendons, ligaments, and bones. This is typically done near the end of the first year, and a cast is worn until the foot has fully healed, followed by bracing to keep everything in the right position.

    Dr. Philip Pinsker has many years of experience in pediatric foot care. We want your children to have strong, healthy feet so they can walk, play and, enjoy all that life has to offer. Call our Washington, PA office at (724) 225-7410 if you have any concerns regarding your child’s foot development.