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news News Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:02 PM - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:02 PM

Comprehensive care for common birth defect

Portland Shriners Hospital provides specialized treatment for clubfoot

Comprehensive care for common birth defect

Clubfoot is a common birth defect frequently treated at the Portland Shriners Hospital. Clubfoot causes the foot to twist and turn inward. Clubfoot affects approximately one out of 1,000 children, with half of the children having both feet affected. Clubfoot is more prevalent in males, and although there is no defined cause of this condition, there is a known genetic influence. Clubfoot can range from mild to serious, but in almost all cased can be successfully treated with casting, a small surgical procedure and bracing. 

In the past, treatment for clubfoot required children to undergo several extensive surgical procedures, all before they reached the age of 2. Today, physicians at the Portland Shriners Hospital treat clubfoot by utilizing the Ponseti method, a series of casting and bracing, which allows clubfoot to be corrected without the need for major surgical reconstruction. During each week of casting, the child’s affected foot is manipulated slightly to stretch the foot towards the correct position. Each week the cast is removed and the foot is repositioned and casted again, allowing for the foot to gradually re-shape to the correct position. After the casting portion is done, the patient is fitted for an orthotic device to wear full time for the next three months, and then only while sleeping for the next few years, in order to maintain and secure the correct position of the foot.

Patricia, mother of current patient Nora, learned that her daughter had clubfoot at birth. “I tried calling around to local pediatrician’s offices in my area, until I was referred to Shriners Hospital. We began her casting at 2 weeks old, and after just two months of treatment, her foot positioning was corrected. Nora is now a very confident walker!”

Jeremy Bauer, M.D., pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the Portland Shriners Hospital, highlights the ease of comprehensive treatment provided at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland. “Children come in for their weekly casting treatments in a very comfortable and supportive environment for both the child and family, and then once they are ready for bracing, they can get their braces from our in-house orthotics team, which is really convenient for families.”

If your child or someone you know might benefit from these services, please contact the Portland Shriners Hospital. Call 503-221-3422 to schedule an appointment.

Photo credit: Matthew Balancia