Clubfoot

Clubfoot is a birth defect that causes the foot to bend at a sharp angle at the ankle. The ankle will look twisted out of position or shape, but is usually an isolated defect not affecting the infant in any other manner. This defect can affect one or both feet. It can either be severe or mild. Clubfoot is potentially disfiguring, and may hinder a child’s ability to walk, but the child’s development is otherwise unaffected. Fortunately, treatment for clubfoot has a high success rate, and the appearance and function of the child’s foot will generally improve.

Picture of Clubfoot

colorado foot institute clubfoot

Causes and Symptoms

Babies are sometimes born with clubfoot. In severe cases, a clubfoot can twist the top of the baby’s foot so far downward that it appears to be upside-down.This can also affect the calf muscle, causing it to be underdeveloped, and making the affected foot appear shorter. Clubfoot generally does not cause pain. It is normally diagnosed by the doctor soon after the birth of a child, and the doctor should advise you to see a podiatrist for treatment.

The causes of clubfoot are still largely unknown. Scientists know it is not the positioning of the fetus, but instead a defect similar to skeletal defects that affect many infants at birth. Baby clubfoot affects about one out of every one thousand infants, male infants are more likely to have clubfoot, but the likelihood grows if the parents, or other siblings have had this birth defect.

The problem with clubfoot arises when the child starts to stand and walk. The condition can cause the affected foot to be smaller than the non-affected foot.Left untreated this condition can cause serious problems in the growth of the leg and the muscles surrounding the foot, as well as cause arthritis. The child will compensate by walking improperly, causing unnatural growth in the calf muscle and may cause sores and calluses.

Treatment

The bones and joints of a newborn are tremendously flexible, which allows treatment for clubfoot to begin right after birth. Treatment should restore the function and look of the foot prior to walking to prevent long-term disabilities. The most common treatment is the Ponseti method. This method stretches the foot towards the correct alignment and casts it, every week this is redone until the shape of the foot is returned to normal. After the shape is corrected stretching exercises are done to maintain the correct alignment. Special shoes are often needed at night for up to two years to prevent the foot to returning to its original position at birth. In severe cases surgery is needed to restore the foot, this is normally conducted when the child is around a year old but can be done as early as three months old. If surgery is the right option, the infant will still need to wear leg braces for up to one year. When the condition is an isolated deformity, treatment normally corrects all problems associated with clubfoot, but in some cases the foot will still have slight defects. The treatments used both rely heavily on the parents to ensure the shoes or braces are being worn at night to keep the foot aligned properly, but a doctor can help with decisions of which treatment will be most suited for the affected infant.

Let Us Help You

As Director of the Colorado Foot Institute, Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive RearFoot and Ankle Surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat you or your child’s foot conditions. He and his family are natives of the Denver area.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four month post-graduate residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery and a twenty-four month surgical fellowship program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a  Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik will evaluate your feet or your child’s feet and work with you to create a solution that is tailored to the severity of your condition.

With his expertise in foot care, Dr. Mechanik can help you resolve this life altering condition and help restore balance. You can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 303-333-3383.