Clubfoot is a deformity in which an infant's foot is turned up and inside often so severely that the bottom of the foot faces sideways or even upward. The chances of this developing in an infant are about one in every 1,000 births making it one of the more common congenital (present at birth) foot deformities.
Clubfoot is not painful during infancy. However, if your child's clubfoot is not treated, the foot will remain deformed, and he or she will not be able to walk normally. With proper treatment, however, most children can participate in physical activities with few limitations.
Most cases of clubfoot are successfully treated with nonsurgical methods that may include a combination of stretching, casting, and bracing, this usually begins shortly after birth.
Treatment consists of stretching and casting utilizing the Ponseti Technique; this is the most widely used technique in North America and throughout the World. The goal of treatment is to obtain a functional, pain-free foot that enables standing and walking with the sole flat on the ground. It consists of weekly application of casts to gradually correct the deformity. In some cases, when the Achilles tendon is very tight, a lengthening procedure is required. Once casting is complete, children wear braces on their feet to maintain the correction. The amount of time the braces must be worn each day decreases over the first year. Once the foot is fully aligned, the braces are used only at night until the child is four years old.