It’s a beautiful moment when your child enters the world. You’ve anticipated this for months and been hopeful about this new life. Any birth defect in a child is sure to upset and frighten parents. But the good news is- some of these defects are completely curably if diagnosed and treated timely.
Clubfoot describes a range of foot abnormalities usually present at birth in which your baby's foot is twisted out of shape or position. The foot is usually smaller than normal, points downward and maybe rotated towards the other foot. The underlying problem is that the tissues connecting the muscles to the bone are shorter than usual. It is a fairly common bone deformity in an otherwise healthy baby. All moms and dads should have a fair idea of this abnormality not only ‘cause it is very common but also for the fact that a well-treated clubfoot is no handicap and is fully compatible with a normal, active life. The majority of clubfeet can be corrected in infancy in about six to eight weeks with proper manipulations and plaster casts.
Clubfoot is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. And though a clubfoot itself does not cause any pain or discomfort, it can cause significant problems in walking as the child grows. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the signs. Here’s what it looks like:
- The foot is usually twisted inwards such that the sole face in.
- The affected foot may be up to 1 centimeter shorter than the other foot.
- Heel is small.
- There are deep skin creases on the heel.
- There are dimples on the outer aspect of the ankle.
Left untreated, clubfoot does not straighten itself out. It will remain twisted out of shape and cause major problems when the child starts standing or walking.There is often some difficulty with:
- Participation in normal play.
- Shoe size and fitting.
- Limitation of mobility
A treatment that begins shortly after birth is very effective and can cure clubfoot completely. The child will be stable with no residual problems. Inspect your child’s growing feet and consult your doctor if you recognize any abnormality. Treatment usually involves gentle manipulation or casts.
Don’t panic if your child has a clubfoot deformity, it is one of the most common birth defects. If your child has been diagnosed with clubfoot, know that an early treatment is often successful.