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Clubfoot Deformity- What do You Need to Know?

By Dr. Nargesh Agarwal in Paediatric (Ped) Orthopaedics

Nov 29 , 2017 | 2 min read

Clubfoot (CTEV) is a three-dimensional deformity of foot involving either one or both feet since birth. The affected foot of a child looks like it is rotated internally & downward at the ankle, making it difficult for the child to place the sole of foot flat on the surface. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause severe gait abnormality during walking as the child walks on the outer part of sole and ankle. Ideally, treatment of clubfoot should start as early as possible without any delay in order to avoid major problems as the child grows.

What causes this deformity?

The exact cause of clubfoot is still not known (Idiopathic). Other reasons for this could be genetic, the position of the baby in mother womb, neuromuscular disorders etc. The parents must get the child screened immediately to assess his health condition and identify the exact cause of the congenital deformity. There is no correlation in the deformity and other ritual myths like “GRAHAN”.

Know the Symptoms

The deformity is obvious and apparent and can be diagnosed immediately after birth.  The most important symptom of clubfeet is the foot looking deformed and twisted like the club of the golf stick. But the child will experience discomfort and find it difficult to walk if clubfoot is not treated properly and timely. It may be difficult for the child to wear shoes and participate in physical activities. Sometimes foot size of affected side appears smaller than normal side.

Is there any diagnosis available?

Clubfoot can be diagnosed even before baby born (antenatal) by Ultrasound. Orthopaedic surgeon detects the deformity after birth by observing the appearance and movement of the baby’s feet and legs.

 What is the treatment available?

Clubfoot can be treated Non-Surgically by serial casting followed by percutaneously done tenotommy with a success rate of over 90%. Tenotomy is a day care procedure done on OPD basis under Local Anesthesia/General Anesthesia. There is no side effect of this procedure as the released structure regenerates spontaneously. After tenotomy child always put on braces for sometimes. Braces are used to prevent the recurrence of deformity. Initially, put for 23 hours in a day for three months and then at nap time until four years of age. In some cases, surgery is required for relapse, neglected, neuropathic and muscular cause of clubfoot.

How long is the recovery period?

The nonsurgical treatment methods require the child to wear special shoes and braces full time till the clubfoot is cured. Also, the child has to perform a variety of stretching exercises on a daily basis. He may need to wear atleast 4-5 cast (depending on the severity of foot).