What is Clubfoot?
Talipes, or clubfoot as otherwise known, is a common lower limb condition a baby is born with. It starts when the baby is forming in the womb and can affect either or both feet, causing them to turn inwards. The first signs of clubfoot are sometimes detected using a scan in the third trimester of pregnancy. Often, the condition is not noticed until the baby is born. It is estimated that 1 in every 1,000 new-borns suffer from clubfoot in the UK. It is more common in boys than girls.
What does clubfoot look like?
Clubfoot makes the foot or feet appear stubby. The foot will usually be turned inwards, causing the toes to point at the opposite leg. The foot is twisted from the ankle, meaning the sole of it is backwards. This causes the Achilles tendon to become tight, and the foot bones are misshapen.
What are the causes of clubfoot?
Bone structural issues with the feet may affect the position the baby holds their feet when developing in the womb. Short tendons, nerve issues and weak foot muscles can cause this. Sometimes, spina bifida could cause clubfoot, but this is rare.
It is often unclear exactly what has caused clubfoot, but it doesn’t affect the baby’s overall health.
Clubfoot will cause mobility issues when the child walks if not treated quickly and correctly. For this reason, treatment usually begins as soon as the condition is detected and typically carries on until the child is of pre-school age.
Treatment starts within weeks of birth as the feet are soft and easily manipulated. Casts, boots, and bars are used to encourage the foot or feet to assume the desired position. A doctor can loosen the Achilles tendon during a minor and quick procedure.
The baby will need to wear the boots and braces all the time to start, which changes to only night-time once they become a toddler.
Things to consider if your child has been treated for club foot are that one foot may be a slightly different size and shape than the other. This could mean they need different-sized shoes or insoles. You will also need to take extra care regarding the child’s foot health once the boots and braces treatment has ended.
For information on the podiatry services we offer at Louisa Seymour Podiatry, please contact us on 01277 266870.