A clubfoot is a deformity of the foot which are existing at birth. It occurs in about one per 1000 live births which makes it a relatively common condition. When a baby is born the midwife or doctor will examine them for a number of different conditions as part of the screening process. A clubfoot is one of those conditions that they routinely check for. A clubfoot is defined as when the foot is in a downward and inward position when compared to normal. This is technically generally known as planterflexed, inverted and abducted placement of the foot. In the grand scheme of things a clubfoot is generally comparatively minor condition however can be very upsetting at the birth as it is visible. Generally, it's an isolated problem, but sometimes it is part of a range of signs and symptoms making up a syndrome. Those with this deformity will also be more likely to have a dislocated hip at birth.
The treatment of a clubfoot is dependent upon the severity and characteristics of it. There are basically two types of clubfoot; flexible and rigid. A flexible clubfoot will likely be taken care of by regular mobilization, manipulation and stretching and then the foot is put into a plaster cast to hold it in a more corrected position. After a period of time, that will rely on how severe it is, the plaster cast is removed and the foot is again mobilized and stretched with a new plaster cast being applied after that to hold the foot in an much more corrected position. This approach has been well researched to be frequently quite successful. If this therapy is not successful or if the deformity is inflexible then a surgical approach is advised. Technically this is a complicated surgery as the foot and structures are extremely small. There are plenty of structures from the bone, to the tendons, to the ligaments that have to be operated on to move the foot in to a much more corrected position, making it challenging.