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Clubfoot

Clubfoot

At Shriners Children's Twin Cities, our orthopaedic care support team is here to help treat children with clubfoot. Our specialized care team helps patients and their families understand what to expect in the treatment process, and the important role a parent or guardian plays. While the journey in caring for clubfoot can be stressful, our team is here to make it as smooth as possible.

Clubfoot is diagnosed by a health care provider’s examination, where one foot (unilateral) or both feet (bilateral) may be affected. While a prenatal ultrasound may suggest a clubfoot, there are other conditions that involve the same position of the foot.

A “true clubfoot” is a foot that cannot be easily manipulated into a normal position. The clubfoot turns down and inward. Affected areas include the tendons and ligaments not only in the foot, but in the calf muscle as well. Clubfoot can range from mild to severe and will not resolve on its own. Though a family might be worried, clubfoot is not painful to babies, and treatment will help each child grow up to live a normal life.

Treatment

The Ponseti method is used to treat clubfoot. This method is the most common treatment in the U.S. and consists of serial casting, heel cord procedure and brace wear. The treatment goal is to have a foot that works well, is pain free and looks normal. Each child’s progress is different. Treatment length will vary with each child.

Phase 1: Casting

Casting can begin when the baby has reached their birth weight and the foot is as long as the parent’s pinky finger. The cast extends from the groin to the toes and is changed
every one to two weeks to gently stretch and re-position the foot. The number of casts ranges from 4-6 (see casting figure).

Phase 2: Tenotomy

The Achilles tendon is clipped to lengthen the heel. This procedure is done in the clinic unless otherwise recommended by your physician. A cast is applied and worn for three weeks.

Phase 3: Bracing

When the final cast is removed, your child is placed in a foot abduction brace (pictured above right) designed to prevent the clubfoot deformity from recurring. It is absolutely necessary that the brace be worn as prescribed.

Who your child may see for this condition:

Michael J. Priola, D.O.
Pediatric Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Surgeon
Areas of special interest: cerebral palsy, conditions of the knee, limb deficiencies, foot deformities, spina bifida, sports-related injuries

Christopher S. Vara, M.D.
Pediatric Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon
Areas of special interest: cerebral palsy, hip dysplasia, limb deficiencies, lower limb angular deformities, foot deformities, spine conditions

To schedule an appointment: 612-596-6105 or email