Clubfoot or talipes equinovarus (TEV) is a foot abnormality in which the foot points down and in. Clubfoot presents at birth and has a genetic causative factor. Both the lower leg and the foot are involved in this deformity. TEV is twice more common in males compared to females in a ratio of 2:1. About 50 percent of the cases of TEV involve both the feet. Any child who gets diagnosed with clubfoot should have prompt treatment, beginning as early as one week by Best Orthopedic Surgeon in Lahore.
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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Club Foot Deformity?
Clubfoot deformity can be recognized in new born babies as the top of the foot twists inwards and downwards. Initially, the arch is more pronounced and the heel is turned inwards. As the severity progresses the foot looks as if it is upside-down. If only one foot affected, it is usually shorter than the other. The calf muscles of such children also tend to be underdeveloped.
Club foot is recognized immediately upon birth, and sometimes even before it. It can be recognized at the fetal screening ultrasound at 12 weeks of gestation but needs confirmation through a physical exam at birth.
In most cases there is no association with another deformity, except in rare cases, spina bifida can occur.
What are the Risk Factors of Clubfoot Deformity?
The probability of clubfoot is higher in instances of a parent or sibling with this deformity in the family already. The chances are also higher in children of the mothers who smoke, or are passive smokers during pregnancy. Clubfoot is more twice more common with male children compared to female children. As mentioned before, clubfoot can occur with spina bifida—the deformity of the spinal cord whereby the cord doesn’t close properly. In mothers with little amniotic fluid or oligohydramnios the risk of clubfoot is increased.
What is the Complication of Clubfoot?
If the clubfoot of the baby is treated before they start to walk and stand, they will have a fairly normal life. There can be some problem, however, with flexibility of the affected foot. in terms of movement, the affected foot can be somewhat less bendable. On the affected side, the calf muscles are weaker and smaller, in comparison to the other side. Additionally, the affected leg is slightly shorter in such individuals but it is no consequence with regards to mobility. Also, the affected foot size may be 1 to 1.5 shoe sizes smaller than the other unaffected foot.
In individuals who are left untreated, the complications are numerous. There is arthritis in such children and they have walking problems. Due to the inability to walk properly the calf muscles remain underdeveloped.
Such children usually have a poor self-image as they are unable to walk properly and they use the balls of their foot for mobility; in severe cases, they use the top of their foot to walk. This causes an awkward gait and makes them self-conscious. Walking in this manner also results in calluses and sores on the foot.
What are the Treatment Options?
Clubfoot is treated by a pediatric orthopedist who can offer the most appropriate treatment based on the severity of the deformity. Treatment is usually started soon after birth to restore complete functionality to the foot. The Best Orthopedic Surgeon in Islamabad will use their hands to correct the bend in the foot and apply plaster cast to it to hold the foot in position. This is known as the Ponseti method of correction. Other methods include French method and corrective surgery.