Have you ever tried to walk around on just your heels or just your toes? How about on the outside edge of your foot? If you can balance, it is possible, though it feels a bit awkward. It doesn’t feel right because feet were designed to use the whole sole and push off the ground. If your foot was twisted inward since birth, however, you wouldn’t be able to use your foot properly. This is the concern with a condition like clubfoot.
The Foot with a Twist
This congenital problem affects the position of the feet. Rather than being straight when your baby is born, the one or both feet twist and curve inward. The muscles on the affected leg are usually underdeveloped. Sometimes that limb is also shorter than its counterpart. It isn’t uncomfortable for your baby, but it can be permanent and severely limit your child’s ability to walk later if it isn’t treated right away. This is a relatively common deformity and, fortunately, has many treatment options, both conservative and surgical.
No one is completely sure what causes this condition, but several factors do seem to play a part, including smoking during the pregnancy and a family history of the problem. The best chance of successfully correcting a clubfoot without surgery is prompt care. Shortly after your baby is born, you will need to seek expert treatment from experienced podiatrists, like Dr. David Laurino and Dr. Antonius Su. They will evaluate your child’s condition and can help you determine what course of action is best.
Stretching It Straight
Conservative care for this issue has been very successful, especially if it’s addressed right away. The tightened muscles and connective tissues will need to be stretched out so the foot can be placed flat on the ground. The doctors will carefully stretch and realign your baby’s foot in the right position and hold it in place with a cast. The foot is re-stretched and re-casted several times across multiple months. After the foot is in the correct alignment, you baby will need to wear special braces or shoes to help maintain the remedy—full time for a few months, then just at night for a few years, if needed. Not following through with the treatment could mean the clubfoot returns.
If the affected foot isn’t responding well to conservative therapies, the doctors may need to surgically lengthen the affected muscles and tendons. This allows the foot to be manipulated to the correct position more easily. Your baby’s foot will need to recover in a cast following the procedure and will still require a brace for roughly a year so the problem doesn’t return. There is a risk that your child may have some trouble fitting into certain shoes and walking normally, but in most cases, if the condition is treated early, your little one will be able to walk and be active without any problems as he or she grows.
Clubfoot Treatment in Arizona
Correcting clubfoot may seem like a lot of work, but failing to do so would allow your baby’s foot to solidify and grow in the twisted position permanently. If you already know your child will have clubbed feet or are not sure how to go about treating the problem, don’t wait and let the issue become more challenging to treat. Contact Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona for an appointment or more information and take care of your baby’s feet and ankles. You can reach our two offices by visiting the online contact page, calling either location, or faxing us: for the Chandler office, call (480) 963-9000 or fax (480) 963-0375; for the Gilbert office, call (480) 981-1800 or fax (480) 981-0229.