Surgical Correction of Clubfeet

Not all clubfeet can be corrected by nonsurgical methods. In addition, some clubfeet that are  initially corrected with casting or the French Method may recur due to the child's inability to tolerate braces or the parents' inability to comply with the bracing requirements. When this occurs, surgical correction of the feet may be needed.

At times, only partial recurrence of the clubfoot happens. In this instance, limited surgery is needed. In such cases, the heel cord and joint capsule in the back of the ankle may need to be released (limited posterior release), or a tendon that helps to move the foot may need to be repositioned (tibialis anterior tendon transfer).

More extensive surgery on the foot will be needed in approximately 15 percent of patients with clubfeet in order to achieve a satisfactory, lasting position of the foot. This more extensive surgery is known as a posteromedial release. Infants are usually older than 9 months of age before this procedure is performed. Prior to the surgery, it's common that the family and physicians make numerous efforts to achieve correction of the clubfoot through nonsurgical methods, such as the Ponseti casting method or the French functional (physical therapy) method.