Clubfoot FAQ

Q. What caused my child's clubfoot?

A. The cause of clubfoot is unknown. While it can coexist with other conditions, most babies with clubfoot are otherwise healthy. Clubfoot affects about one baby in every 1,000 live births. Fifty percent of babies with clubfoot are affected in both feet, and males are affected slightly more often than females.

Q. Does clubfoot run in families?

A. Heredity does seem to play a role in the occurrence of clubfoot, but the exact cause is still unknown.

Q. Will treatment make my child's clubfoot normal?

A. Doctors at TSRHC treat clubfoot with the Ponseti casting and French physical therapy methods. Our goal is to help the child's foot rest flat on the ground and be flexible and pain-free. Because the tissues below the knee are affected, the clubfoot will always be a little shorter in length than the other foot, and the calf will always be slightly thinner than the other calf. Bracing and splinting are important in preventing your child's foot from reverting back to the curved position.

Q. Will casting or bracing delay my child's development?

A. Babies with clubfoot should develop normally. Casting, bracing and splinting should not interfere with your child's development and must be continued to prevent recurrence of the clubfoot.

Q. Will my child be able to play like other children?

A. Clubfoot, once treated, should not limit your child from participating in many athletic activities.

Q. What if nonoperative treatment doesn't correct my child's clubfoot?

A. At least 94 percent of clubfeet treated with the Ponseti casting and French physical therapy methods achieve good initial correction. Recurrence may require repeat casting, repeat heelcord release or alternative bracing. If the clubfoot still cannot be maintained in a corrected position, surgery may be required.

Q. How long will my child have to wear a brace?

A. Bracing and splinting is a vital part of both the Ponseti casting and French physical therapy methods of treatment. In the Ponseti casting method, the brace is comprised of two shoes held together by a bar. After the final cast is removed, the brace is used full-time, except for skin checks and bathing, for three months and then for 12 hours at night and during naps until at least 2 years of age. In the French physical therapy method, plastic below-knee splints are used full-time in conjunction with taping until at least walking age and then at night until at least 2 years of age.