Long-Term Consequences of Clubfoot

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Clubfoot is a congenital defect that occurs in roughly one out of every 1000 births. Most people who are born with the deformity and have access to medical care are successfully treated as infants. Some people have even been diagnosed with the condition while still in the womb. Treatment can begin almost immediately, as early as one week after the birth.

If you suspect your child has clubfoot, do not ignore the condition. It will not disappear, and it will become much more difficult to correct once the child is further along in his or her development process. Ideally the condition should be fully corrected before the child takes his or her first steps.

Look for these telltale symptoms: The toes should be pointed down and the heel drawn up so that the foot looks almost like it is upside down. The toes will be pointed inward towards the center of the body. In cases of bilateral clubfeet, the toes will point towards each other. Feet tend to be smaller and broader than normal. If a child begins to walk, it will look like he is walking on his ankles.

Failure to seek out early treatment can result in permanent deformity. Children untreated for clubfoot will walk on the tops of their feet, and will usually have a pronounced limp. Secondary conditions such as corns, ingrown toenails and rough, callused skin are more likely to develop. Adults will have difficulty purchasing footwear, and it may be impossible to wear shoes on the deformed feet.

For children who are successfully treated for clubfoot, long-term consequences are few and manageable. Several clubfoot patients have even gone on to become professional athletes, such as Mia Hamm of US Women’s Soccer fame or Kristi Yamaguchi, the Olympic gold medalist figure skater. Children may need to wear braces or splints on their feet to hold the foot in the corrected position until they are finished growing. Sometimes orthotics or special orthopedics shoes are helpful later in life to maintain the proper position of the foot. The treated clubfoot and accompanying calf muscles tend to be smaller than the untreated foot, and so two different sized shoes may be necessary. Some adults who were treated for clubfoot also report reduced mobility and stiffness in their corrected foot, but again, this should not severely limit a person’s ability to play sports or lead a highly active lifestyle.


Jane Barron works for OddShoeFinder.com,a free online website that helps people find mismatched footwear.If you are looking for diabetic shoes ,mismatched footwear ,different sized feet or information useful to polio survivors, people with diabetes foot problems, and people with foot size differences,visit oddshoefinder.com

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