One out of every thousand babies is born with a congenital disability called clubfoot. It makes walking hard because one or both feet twist inward at the ankle. No one knows what causes clubfoot, but it often runs in families. If you or your partner has clubfoot, your chances of having a child with clubfoot are higher.
Most cases of clubfoot need surgery to fix. From then on, it's essential to do regular exercises to keep the foot flexible and loose. One of the most common ways to treat clubfoot in children is to have them see an occupational therapist. This helps make sure that the deformity doesn't get worse over time.
Clubfoot's cause is unknown, but it's usually thought to have something to do with how the baby is positioned in the womb. It's thought that if the fetus is in a breech (feet-first) position and doesn't move into a head-down position by 38 weeks of pregnancy, then the child may have clubfoot.
Clubfoot happens when the tendons on the inside of the leg get shorter, the bones change shape, and the Achilles tendon gets tighter.
If the person doesn't get help, it may look like they are walking on their ankles or the sides of their feet.
A baby is born with clubfoot if:
Most of the time, a person with clubfoot doesn't feel pain or discomfort when they walk.
Clubfoot is usually seen when a baby is born by a doctor or nurse. Sometimes it can be found before a child is born.
Most kids with clubfeet have nothing else wrong with them, but sometimes clubfeet come with other problems, like spina bifida.
Some things that can lead to clubfoot are:
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in the United States found that the condition was caused by a change in a gene called PITX1, which is essential for the early development of the lower limbs.
Most of the time, the cause of clubfoot is unknown or idiopathic. It is thought that genetic factors play a big part, and specific gene changes have been linked to it, but this is not well understood yet. It seems to be passed down from generation to generation.
It has nothing to do with where the baby is in the uterus.
Sometimes it's caused by problems with the bones, like spina bifida cystica, or a hip condition called hip dysplasia, or developmental dysplasia of the hip, that happens during childhood (DHH).
A problem could cause it in a neuromuscular pathway, which could be in the brain, spinal cord, nerve, or muscle.
There may be a role for the environment. Researchers have found a link between clubfoot and the mother's age, whether or not the mother smokes, and whether or not the mother has diabetes.
A higher chance of clubfoot is also linked to early amniocentesis, done before 13 weeks of pregnancy.
The problem is clear from the moment the baby is born.
It can also be found before birth with the help of an ultrasound, mainly if it affects both feet. If it is found before the baby is born, there is no way to treat it until after the baby is born.
Doctors Sanjay Sarup will suggest more tests to look for other health problems, such as spina bifida and muscular dystrophy, whether the condition is found during pregnancy or after birth.
X-rays may help to get a better look at the deformity.
There are three steps to a possible treatment for clubfoot:
Occupational therapists can help even young children who need surgery by giving them exercises to do before or after the surgery. This will help them get used to the clubfoot therapy they have to do after surgery.
Even with treatment, a clubfoot may not be able to be fixed completely. Most babies who are treated when they are young grow up to wear regular shoes and lead active lives.