Clubfoot is a congenital condition (present at birth) that causes a baby’s foot to
turn inward or downward. It can be mild or severe and occur in one or both feet.
In babies who have clubfoot, the tendons that connect their leg muscles to their
heel are too short. These tight tendons cause the foot to twist out of shape.
There is a high success rate for treating clubfoot. After correction, your child
should be able to participate in a variety of physical activities and lead a normal
life. Children who do not get treatment for clubfoot will not be able to walk
normally. Their foot or feet will remain deformed.
There are a few reliable techniques for treating clubfoot with stretching. The most
widely used is called the Ponseti method.
With this method, stretching is used in combination with a cast. Your doctor (or
orthopedic specialist) will stretch your baby’s foot toward the correct position and
then place a cast on it to hold it there. Every week or so, the doctor will remove
the cast, stretch the foot further toward the correct position, and re-cast it. This
will continue until the foot is fully in the correct position (usually several months).
When clubfoot is severe, surgery is often the best option for your baby. The
surgeon (usually an orthopedic surgeon) will work to lengthen the tendons in the
foot and may also need to realign the bones and joints.