Clubfoot
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
Clubfoot is a deformity of the foot that causes the foot to turn inward and downward. The Achilles tendon becomes tight, which pulls the heel upward toward the leg and prevents the foot from being able to sit flat on the ground. A clubfoot is usually smaller than a normal-sized foot.

Causes
Clubfoot is caused by a deformity in the development of the muscles, tendons, and bones of the foot. It is present at birth. The cause of clubfoot is unknown. There is some belief that clubfoot can be inherited in some cases. It is not thought to be caused by position in the womb.

Achilles Tendon and Related Muscles

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors
Because the cause of clubfoot is not understood, not many of the risk factors for this condition are known. However, some of the following factors may increase your chance of developing clubfoot:

  • Sex: male
  • Having a family history of clubfoot
Symptoms
Symptoms include:

  • At birth, one or both feet that:
    • Turn inward and downward, and will not straighten
    • Are slightly smaller than normal
  • Calf muscle slightly smaller than normal
Diagnosis
Clubfoot is easily diagnosed during a physical examination, but an x-ray of the foot will also be taken. The condition can often be diagnosed before birth during an ultrasound examination.

Prenatal Ultrasound

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Treatment
Clubfoot can be corrected, but it is best to start treatment as early as possible—sometimes right after birth. Treatment options include:

Casting
With casting, the foot is manually moved into a better position. It is placed in a series of casts. A new cast is put on every week for 5-10 weeks to stretch the soft tissues of the foot and reshape it.

After the initial casting procedure is completed, a brace is used at night and during naps.

Surgery
More extensive surgery may be done to correct the deformed tendons and muscles in severe cases that do not respond to casting. When necessary, surgery is most commonly done within the first year of life.

Prevention
There is no known way to prevent clubfoot, because the cause is unknown.




RESOURCES:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation


References:
Clubfoot. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00255. Updated October 2007. Accessed April 4, 2013.

Eastwood DM, Sanghrajka AP. Guided growth: recent advances in a deep-rooted concept. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011;93(1):12-18.

Orthopedics: clubfoot. Children's Hospital and Medical Center website. Available at: http://orthopedics.seattlechildrens.org/conditions_treated/clubfoot.asp. Accessed. Accessed April 4, 2013.

Pediatric orthopedic ailments: clubfoot. Massachusetts General Hospital Orthopedic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/ortho/services/pediatrics/clubfoot.aspx. Accessed April 15, 2007.

van Bosse HJ. Ponseti treatment for clubfeet: an international perspective. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2011;23(1):41-45.

Zionts LE, Dietz FR. Bracing following correction of idiopathic clubfoot using the Ponseti method. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2010;18(8):486-493.

Last Reviewed February 2014



Health Information Library content is provided by EBSCO Publishing, fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

 

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

 

To send comments or feedback to EBSCO's Editorial Team regarding the content please e-mail healthlibrarysupport@ebscohost.com.