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Clubfoot – When Should You Seek Medical Help?

Clubfoot is a common deformity where a baby’s foot appears twisted in and pointing down. This is usually an isolated foot deformity in an otherwise healthy infant, with approximately 50% of cases affecting both feet. The underlying mechanism involves a muscle and connective tissue imbalance in the leg, resulting in joint contractures and malalignment. Early intervention is necessary as it will not resolve on its own.

Treatment for clubfoot consists of two phases:  

Ponseti serial casting uses gentle stretching, tissue manipulation and long-leg casting to re-align the foot. This “Corrective Phase” is a gradual process beginning shortly after birth over six to eight weeks. After casting, 90% of cases require a minor procedure (Achilles Tenotomy), where they cut the heel cord to lengthen the tendon. The final cast remains on for two to three weeks, allowing the Achilles tendon to regrow to a proper, longer length allowing the clubfoot deformity to correct. 

Orthotic bracing: Even after a successful Corrective Phase, the deformity has a natural tendency to recur as the child grows. Therefore the child enters a “Maintenance Phase” and uses “boots and bars” for up to five years. Special shoes are attached to a metal bar, which maintain the corrected position. Initially the device is worn 23 hours a day for three months, followed by naps and nighttime (12 hours) for two to five years. The devices do not hurt or bother the child and most adapt quickly. While it may take them a little longer to learn, children wearing this brace are able to sit, crawl and walk just like other children their age.

Children with corrected clubfoot lead normal lives. As the child grows, we recommend regular check-ups to monitor development. Children may require exercises to help strengthen and lengthen the muscles and tendons of the affected leg or they may require additional orthotics to support the foot, optimize alignment and accommodate the leg-length difference. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s foot presentation, do not hesitate to reach out to our office. Book your complimentary consultation with one of our orthotists!


The Custom Orthotics team (519) 850-4721 | office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing

The Custom Orthotics Team (519) 850-4721 | office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing


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