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What Is the Most Common Treatment for Clubfoot?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Treatment for clubfoot should be started soon after birth. Non-surgical methods are usually attempted first. The afflicted foot is maneuvered into the correct position a little at a time and held with a cast. If this method does not work, surgery may be required.

Medical professionals typically recommend starting treatment for clubfoot as soon as possible. If this condition is treated early enough, a patient is more likely to grow and walk normally. Treatment usually begins right after birth or after clubfoot diagnosis.

Non-surgical treatment for clubfoot is usually preferred. With this type of treatment, the foot is moved closer to a normal position. A cast is then usually put on the foot and leg to hold it in position. After a week or two, the cast is removed and the foot is again moved closer to a normal position.

These steps are repeated every week or two until the foot is finally maneuvered into a normal position. It is a slow process, and it can take months. Doctors may opt for surgery, however, if there is little or no improvement after a few months.

Surgery is typically used as a treatment option only after the casting method has not worked. During this type of surgery, ligaments and tendons may be corrected or tightened to help correct the positioning of the foot. Correcting the Achilles tendon, for instance, is often done during surgical treatment of clubfoot.

The bones in the foot may also need to be realigned during surgical treatment for clubfoot. Wires are then usually used to hold the bones, ligaments, and tendons in place. Additional surgery is then necessary to remove the wires after about six weeks. A cast will then usually be placed on the foot after surgery.

Even when treatment for clubfoot is successful, there is a possibility that this medical condition will recur. Frequent checkups can usually help prevent this. Doctors will typically watch patients treated for clubfoot very closely, at least until they are done growing.

Wearing a brace may also help prevent recurrences of clubfoot in many individuals. After the initial treatment for clubfoot, medical professionals may also recommend that patients wear a brace, at least for the first couple years. This brace typically consists of sandals or shoes attached to either end of a metal or plastic bar. A device such as this helps keep the feet in a normal position.

Physical therapy may also follow some treatment for clubfoot. Stretching and range-of-motion exercises are usually the focus of physical therapy for clubfoot. Swimming or other water exercise may also be helpful.

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