Most things we use regularly were designed and built in a certain way for a particular function, and if something happens to the design, it won’t work the way it should. If your bicycle tire gets bent, you won’t have a smooth ride. If a picture frame is put together wrong, it will hang crooked on the wall. If a sofa lost one of its feet, it would sit slanted on the floor. Your feet are incredibly designed to function in a certain way, and when a deformity such as clubfoot happens, proper treatment is essential to restore comfort and mobility.
Clubfoot is a congenital problemthat affects the position of the feet in the womb. Instead of being straight, the heel points down and the front part of the foot curves inward. One or both feet can be affected and when only one is involved, the foot, calf and leg are usually smaller and shorter than the unaffected limb.
The exact cause of this deformityremains unknown but there are certain factors that seem to play a factor. Your child is twice as likely to have it should you, your spouse, or other children have it, and smoking during pregnancy has also been linked with the deformity. It is not a painful condition for your baby, but if immediate treatment does not take place, severe deformity, discomfort and limited mobility will result. When detected at birth, the methods of treatment available today make clubfoot very treatable, and most children grow up with little or no residual problems.
Straightening the Curve
The goal in treatment is to make your child’s feet functional and painless by the time he or she is ready to walk. Most cases are treated with a treatment called the Ponseti method. This involves a series of manipulations and casts that are changed every days during the first few months. Each time the foot becomes more properly aligned, until it is in the correct position. Afterwards, parents continue the treatment process with daily stretching exercises and special shoes or braces until the child is around three to ensure the feet will not return to the abnormal position.
Occasionally conservative treatment is not enough, at which time your child may need surgery to lengthen or adjust the tendons, ligaments, and joints in the foot and ankle. Your child will need to wear a cast following surgery, and braces for possibly up to a year after that, so the foot can heal properly.
We Are Here to Help
If you already know your child will have clubbed feet, or are not sure how to go about treating the problem, contact Dr. Gene Reister for advice and treatment options. Correcting clubfoot may seem daunting and overwhelming, but our expert staff will walk with you every step of the way to ensure your child grows up with healthy, functioning feet and the ability to walk, play, and run normally. Call our office in Richardson, TX at (972) 690-5374 or use our appointment request option online.