A club foot is a deformed foot, which twisted such that the sole cannot be placed on the ground. The medical terminology for this is Talipes Equinovarus and is a congenital deformity, which causes one or both feet to turn upwards. The cause for this is not known, however current research does indicate genetic factors.
Clubfoot has the tendons on the inside shortened, the bones are of unusual shape and the the Achilles tendon is tightened. If it is left untreated it would appear as if the person is walking on their ankles. The arch is more pronounced and calf muscles tend to be underdeveloped.
Usually the defect is diagnosed at by visual examination at birth, sometimes it can be diagnosed before birth. Most children exhibit only clubfoot while sometimes it is accompanied by other problems like Spina Bifida.
The risk factors, genetic history plays an important role, and the gender distribution is greater in male as compared to female.
The cause is as of now is unknown, and the intra-uterine placement of the foetus does not play a role. One possible cause is a disruption in the neuromuscular pathway. Some environmental pointers have been suspected like mother being a diabetic or a smoker. There has also been a link between early amniocentesis and clubfoot.
Elements of treatment include
- Manipulation and casting. The baby’s foot is gently stretched and manipulated into a corrected position and held in a place with long-leg caste i.e. toes to thigh.
- Achilles tentomy.
The clubfoot is not going to get better on its own, treatment is a must. Near normal foot is required such that the child can play and wear normal footwear.
The affected foot is about size or a size and half smaller than the normal foot. The calf muscle of the affected foot will also stay smaller. The child has a tendency to feel sore at the legs, or feel tired quicker than his/her peers.
Clubfoot despite being congenital, of unknown origin seen predominantly in male, may or may not be associated with other disabilities is manageable the child can go on to live a normal life once the defect is addressed.