When your Baby has Clubfoot - Suffolk Foot and Ankle

When your Baby has Clubfoot

When your Baby has Clubfoot

Newborn child’s cute little foot

Knowing that your baby is suffering from a birth defect or illness can be an incredibly scary time. Often, parents feel overwhelmed and afraid, unsure of what to do or where to seek help. But, many defects are not serious and can be easily treated, preventing future complications. One such defect is Clubfoot.  

Clubfoot is a common type of birth defect and affects the growth of muscles and bones in the feet. Rather than having a straight foot, a clubfoot points down and turns inward. A baby can be born with clubfoot in one or both feet.  

Unfortunately, clubfoot will not improve without treatment.  But, it’s important to know that it is not serious, it isn’t painful, it will not cause any long-term complications, and it can be easily treated before your child begins to stand or walk. 

What Causes Clubfoot and How can it be Treated?

It’s hard to say what causes clubfoot. What doctors do know is that it is more common in boys and tends to be genetic. If it is not detected prior to birth via ultrasound, it is easily diagnosed when the baby is born.  

It is important to seek treatment for clubfoot sooner than later, optimally within a week or two after birth. A baby with clubfoot will need to see an orthopedic surgeon, but no longer do doctors need to perform surgery to fix clubfoot. Today, doctors use a method called the Ponseti method, allowing the foot to slowly grow and move into the right position.

How Does The Ponseti Method Work?

Over time, a series of casts, gentle movements, and stretches of the foot, and a brace will correct the positioning of the foot. This method is completed in two phases.

Casting

About a week or two after the baby is born, a cast will be placed on the clubfoot by an orthopedic surgeon specially trained in the Ponseti method. Then, the baby will need to return approximately once a week so that the foot can be gently moved and stretched. A new cast will be placed on the foot, turning the foot further toward the corrected position. Every child is different, but most babies will wear a series of about 5-7 casts over a few weeks or months.

Bracing

Once the casting phase has been completed, the orthopedic surgeon will place a brace on the baby’s foot. The brace looks like a bar with special shoes at each end, keeping the foot from twisting inward. Because feet grow so quickly in the first years of life, the brace will keep a corrected clubfoot in the proper position as it rapidly grows. After wearing the brace for about 3 months, it can be worn less, most often at night or during naps.  

What should you do if Your Baby has Clubfoot?

Remember, clubfoot is not serious and can be fixed in a few years. There are no permanent effects of clubfoot, but it is important that it be treated as soon as possible.  

By following your orthopedic surgeon’s treatment plan, your child will be able to run, walk, and play without any pain when he or she is ready. Be sure to ask questions as they come up during treatment. Your doctor can offer you helpful advice and encouragement along the way.  

Knowing that your baby is suffering from a birth defect or illness can be an incredibly scary time. Often, parents feel overwhelmed and afraid, unsure of what to do or where to seek help. But, many defects are not serious and can be easily treated, preventing future complications. One such defect is Clubfoot.  

Clubfoot is a common type of birth defect and affects the growth of muscles and bones in the feet. Rather than having a straight foot, a clubfoot points down and turns inward. A baby can be born with clubfoot in one or both feet.  

Unfortunately, clubfoot will not improve without treatment.  But, it’s important to know that it is not serious, it isn’t painful, it will not cause any long-term complications, and it can be easily treated before your child begins to stand or walk. 

What Causes Clubfoot and How can it be Treated?

It’s hard to say what causes clubfoot. What doctors do know is that it is more common in boys and tends to be genetic. If it is not detected prior to birth via ultrasound, it is easily diagnosed when the baby is born.  

It is important to seek treatment for clubfoot sooner than later, optimally within a week or two after birth. A baby with clubfoot will need to see an orthopedic surgeon, but no longer do doctors need to perform surgery to fix clubfoot. Today, doctors use a method called the Ponseti method, allowing the foot to slowly grow and move into the right position.

How Does The Ponseti Method Work?

Over time, a series of casts, gentle movements, and stretches of the foot, and a brace will correct the positioning of the foot. This method is completed in two phases.

Casting

About a week or two after the baby is born, a cast will be placed on the clubfoot by an orthopedic surgeon specially trained in the Ponseti method. Then, the baby will need to return approximately once a week so that the foot can be gently moved and stretched. A new cast will be placed on the foot, turning the foot further toward the corrected position. Every child is different, but most babies will wear a series of about 5-7 casts over a few weeks or months.

Bracing

Once the casting phase has been completed, the orthopedic surgeon will place a brace on the baby’s foot. The brace looks like a bar with special shoes at each end, keeping the foot from twisting inward. Because feet grow so quickly in the first years of life, the brace will keep a corrected clubfoot in the proper position as it rapidly grows. After wearing the brace for about 3 months, it can be worn less, most often at night or during naps.  

What should you do if Your Baby has Clubfoot?

Remember, clubfoot is not serious and can be fixed in a few years. There are no permanent effects of clubfoot, but it is important that it be treated as soon as possible.  

By following your orthopedic surgeon’s treatment plan, your child will be able to run, walk, and play without any pain when he or she is ready. Be sure to ask questions as they come up during treatment. Your doctor can offer you helpful advice and encouragement along the way.