Clubfoot: Curved Baby Feet


Pregnancy is a remarkable event. A lot happens during the many months of gestation to allow for the growth of a healthy, whole child. Even when everything goes completely as planned, it can be a bit nerve-wracking. Discovering your new baby has clubfoot adds an additional layer of difficulty for parents.


Feet Curved Under

Clubfoot is one of the most common congenital foot disorders, developing in roughly 1 out of every 1,000 babies born. The tendons connecting the inner part of the foot to the muscles in the leg are shorter than normal, causing one or both feet to curve sharply in and down. Often the calf muscles are underdeveloped as well. The condition is painless for your child; however, it will prevent him or her from walking normally later in life unless the feet are reshaped into a normal position.

No one is entirely sure what causes clubfoot, though genetics seem to play a role. A baby is more likely to develop the problem if one or both parents had the condition as well. Pregnancy environment may also affect the issue. There is a strong link between smoking during pregnancy and babies born with clubbed feet. Occasionally it can be caused by more serious conditions, like spina bifida. Whatever the cause, though, you need to have your little one’s feet cared for right away to give your baby the best chance for walking normally.


Straightening the Feet

The sooner the condition is addressed, the more successful clubfoot correction tends to be. Dr. Darren Silvester will examine your child’s feet to determine the severity of the problem. Usually a simple evaluation is all that is needed, but sometimes X-rays are helpful for getting a clearer picture of the condition. Then our staff will help you begin treatment for your child.

Conservative methods have been highly successful for the majority of children who begin therapy shortly after birth, when the feet are at their most flexible. The point of noninvasive treatment is to realign the feet and allow them to grow into the correct position. Your child’s lower limbs will be carefully stretched and straightened. Then they are covered with cast to hold them in that position. After a few days to a week, the cast is removed and the process repeated, with the feet held a little straighter each time. The cycle will continue for several months until the feet are in a normal position.

After that, a minor procedure lengthens the Achilles and is casted over to heal for a few more weeks. Then your baby transitions to a bracing period. Your child will wear special shoes and braces regularly for about three months, then begins wearing them only while sleeping. This final stage lasts until your child is four to five years old, allowing the feet to completely grow into the normal, healthy position without regressing.


Choosing Surgery

Surgery is also an option to correct clubfoot, though it’s not usually the first choice. The procedure resets your child’s foot and lengthens all the shortened connectors at once. Once the feet have healed, your baby will spend roughly a year in braces to prevent the feet from curving again. Usually this is reserved for severe cases where the feet are rigid and do not respond to conservative methods. If surgery is necessary, the procedure can be performed at our Olympia Surgery Center.

Clubfoot can be a concerning problem, but it doesn’t have to be a disability for your child. Prompt, invested care can reshape your baby’s feet and allow him or her to walk normally as an older child. Don’t wait to invest in your little one’s health care. Dr. Darren Silvester and our team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in San Antonio, TX, stands ready to address your concerns about your baby’s feet. You can call 210.375.3318 or submit a request online to reach us.

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