The congenital deformity of clubfoot is characterized by a permanent twist in the foot and ankle. Typically diagnosed at birth, clubfoot results from overly tight ligaments and tendons, causing the foot to assume an abnormal position reminiscent of the head of a golf club. For mild cases identified within the first two weeks of birth, casting emerges as a successful non-surgical option. Employing the Ponseti method, this technique involves gradual stretching of the foot into a more normal position, secured by the cast. Over a span of six to eight weeks, this method can correct clubfoot without the need for surgery. This proves particularly advantageous for infants and cases of mild deformities. Severe clubfoot cases in both babies and older patients may necessitate surgical intervention. It may involve Achilles tendon lengthening, tissue release, and, in some instances, a tendon transfer to facilitate improved foot mobility. A cast plays a vital role in the recovery process and may be worn for up to three months to support the healing of incisions, tendons, and bones. Replacements may be necessary, especially for growing infants, ensuring that post-removal, the foot exhibits more normalized appearance and functionality. It is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to determine the most suitable clubfoot treatment.
Congenital foot problems require immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of In Motion Foot and Ankle. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Congenital foot problems are deformities affecting the feet, toes, and/or ankles that children are born with. Some of these conditions have a genetic cause while others just happen. Some specific foot ailments that children may be born with include clubfeet, polydactyly/macrodactyly, and cleft foot. There are several other foot anomalies that can occur congenitally. What all of these conditions have in common is that a child may experience difficulty walking or performing everyday activities, as well as trouble finding footwear that fits their foot deformity. Some of these conditions are more serious than others. Consulting with a podiatrist as early as possible will help in properly diagnosing a child’s foot condition while getting the necessary treatment underway.
What are Causes of Congenital Foot Problem?
A congenital foot problem is one that happens to a child at birth. These conditions can be caused by a genetic predisposition, developmental or positional abnormalities during gestation, or with no known cause.
What are Symptoms of Congenital Foot Problems?
Symptoms vary by the congenital condition. Symptoms may consist of the following:
- Clubfoot, where tendons are shortened, bones are shaped differently, and the Achilles tendon is tight, causing the foot to point in and down. It is also possible for the soles of the feet to face each other.
- Polydactyly, which usually consists of a nubbin or small lump of tissue without a bone, a toe that is partially formed but has no joints, or an extra toe.
- Vertical talus, where the talus bone forms in the wrong position causing other bones in the foot to line up improperly, the front of the foot to point up, and the bottom of the foot to stiffen, with no arch, and to curve out.
- Tarsal coalition, when there is an abnormal connection of two or more bones in the foot leading to severe, rigid flatfoot.
- Cleft foot, where there are missing toes, a V-shaped cleft, and other anatomical differences.
- Macrodactyly, when the toes are abnormally large due to overgrowth of the underlying bone or soft tissue.
Treatment and Prevention
While there is nothing one can do to prevent congenital foot problems, raising awareness and receiving neonatal screenings are important. Early detection by taking your child to a podiatrist leads to the best outcome possible.