I used to love wearing heels all the time, and then I started getting terrible foot pain all the time. I visited my podiatrist, and she showed me how much damage I was doing to my feet. She showed me how much better my feet would be able to react if I wore shoes with proper arch support and convinced me to try some sensible shoes. It made such a difference. My boyfriend says I'm a whole new person - a new person who doesn't complain about her aching feet all day long. Now I proudly wear sensible shoes and enjoy my life!
Club foot, also known as congenital talipes equinovarus, is a condition that's present from birth and causes the foot to turn down and inwards. Both feet are often affected, and they cannot be easily moved into a normal position due to the Achilles tendon, which runs along the back of the heel, being too tight.
It's not clear why some babies are born with club foot, but it's thought there's an element of genetic susceptibility. Most babies born with this condition have no other presenting health concerns, but the condition does appear a little more frequently in babies born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
If club foot is not treated, the baby will have problems walking, as they will not be able to take normal heel-to-toe steps. Here's what you need to know about club foot:
In addition to the noticeable abnormal foot position, babies born with club foot may have underdeveloped calf muscles. If one foot is affected, the leg may be slightly shorter than the other leg, and it may not be possible for the child to wear shoes until the position of their foot is corrected. Club foot itself doesn't cause any pain, but as the child starts to pull themselves up to a standing position, there may be some discomfort.
Diagnosis And Treatment Approach
Club foot can be picked up during routine ultrasound scans from the second trimester of pregnancy. If it's not picked up in utero, it will be recorded by the doctor who exams your baby immediately after birth. There are typically no further investigations required, but your baby will be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon and podiatrist for treatment.
The universal treatment for club foot is known as the Ponseti method, named after the doctor who formulated the approach. Treatment begins soon after birth and involves the baby's foot being gently manipulated by a podiatrist to begin moving it into the normal position. Once the foot is manipulated as far as can comfortably go, a plaster cast is used to hold the foot in that position. After a week, the cast is removed and the foot is manipulated a little more before being put in a fresh cast.
The process is repeated for several weeks until the baby's foot has been moved into the normal position. At this point, a small surgical procedure may be recommended to loosen the Achilles tendon, and this will be done using a local anaesthetic under the care of an orthopaedic surgeon. The child will then need to wear orthotic boots for several months to hold their foot in the correct position and allow their foot muscles to strengthen and adjust.
Treatment for club foot has high success rates when it is started early, so if your baby is diagnosed with club foot in utero, ensure there's a treatment plan and referral to an orthopaedic surgeon and podiatrist in place for the baby being born.Share