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Family Foot & Ankle

What to Expect When Your Baby Has Clubfoot

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We’re not going to sugarcoat it—if your baby is born with clubfoot, there will be some challenges. Correcting this deformity requires a lot of patience and dedication on the part of a baby’s parents—appointments to cast and recast a leg, faithful use of a splint or cast for a few years after correction, commitment to stretching exercises.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: almost all cases can be corrected non-surgically, as long as you remain committed to daily maintenance and care—and we know you will be, because we know you’d do anything for your little one. Although there may be some minor complications—such as a slightly smaller and/or less mobile foot—a child with a well-treated clubfoot may be nearly indistinguishable (both aesthetically and functionally) from one without the condition, allowing your little one to live a normal, active life.

Treatment begins shortly after birth—ideally in the first week or two. The first phase involves stretching and repositioning the leg into a normal position and placing it in a cast. Once or twice per week, the cast is removed, the leg is repositioned, and recast. This process may take 6-8 weeks, maybe little longer. Eventually, the doctor will make a small incision to release the tight Achilles, and cast one more time for about 3 weeks.

After this point, although the curved feet have been corrected, they are very likely to relapse unless you provide strict maintenance care. This includes stretching, special shoes, and a splint or brace. Your child will have to wear the brace full-time for a few months, and at night and naptime for another 2-4 years. Although it may be uncomfortable at first, most children get used to the brace very quickly and can wear it with no problems.

While it can be a long process, faithful commitment to your doctors’ instructions yields a very high success rate, with kids that grow up healthy, active, and strong. If your newborn has a clubfoot deformity, take him or her to see the podiatrists at Family Foot & Ankle Center as soon as you are able. You can request an appointment online, or call us at 888-689-3317.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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