Treatment may involve moving the foot into the correct position and using a cast to keep it there. This is often done by an orthopedic specialist. Treatment should be started as early as possible — ideally, shortly after birth — when reshaping the foot is easiest.
Gentle stretching and recasting occurs every week to improve the position of the foot. Generally, five to 10 casts are needed. The final cast remains in place for 3 weeks. After the foot is in the correct position, a special brace is worn nearly full time for 3 months. Then it is used at night and during naps for up to 3 years.
Often, a simple outpatient procedure is needed to release a tightened Achilles tendon.
Some severe cases of clubfoot will require surgery if other treatments do not work, or if the problem returns. The child should be monitored by a doctor until the foot is fully grown. See: Clubfoot repair
The outcome is usually good with treatment.
Some defects may not be completely fixed. However, treatment can improve the appearance and function of the foot. Treatment may be less successful if the clubfoot is linked to other birth disorders.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
If your child is being treated for clubfoot, call your health care provider if:
- The toes swell, bleed, or change color under the cast
- The cast appears to be causing significant pain
- The toes disappear into the cast
- The cast slides off
- The foot begins to turn in again after treatment
Review Date : 11/2/2009
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.