What Is Clubfoot?
Clubfoot is a congenital deformity in which the foot is severely turned inward and pointed downward. It is one of the most common pediatric orthopedic conditions. In half of the patients affected, both feet are involved. As mentioned, it is present at birth and can even be diagnosed by ultrasound before birth. If left untreated, the foot deformity can make walking extremely difficult and can be painful.
Clubfoot and TSRHC
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children treats hundreds of patients with clubfeet each year. In addition, TSRHC continues conducting research through our Center for Excellence in Clubfoot Research to determine if today's treatment methods remain the best options for patients with clubfoot. Although surgery was once considered the standard treatment, less invasive methods, such as Ponseti casting or physical therapy using the French functional method, are now common practice.
Foot Disorders and TSRHC
TSRHC treats many foot disorders in children besides clubfeet. Some of these include:
High arched feet (cavus)
The cause of clubfoot remains uncertain, but many researchers believe the condition is genetic, as it often runs in families.
Clubfoot is more common in males than females and affects about one in every 1,000 children.
Clubfoot is present at birth and can be detected by ultrasound even before a child is born.
A doctor is needed for proper diagnosis, but typically the heel tilts in and down and the forefoot turns in. The affected foot and calf are usually smaller than those of the unaffected leg.
Treatment of clubfoot ideally begins at an
Newborns and infants at TSRHC are treated nonsurgically in two ways: the Ponseti casting technique and the French physical therapy method of stretching, massaging and taping. In the rare event these methods do not completely correct the foot, the patient may undergo surgery. In most cases, a special brace is used to prevent the condition from recurring.