Is clubfoot a problem at birth?

A clubfoot is a deformity of the foot that is usually present at birth. It occurs in about one per 1000 live births which makes it a relatively frequent condition. When a baby is born the midwife or doctor is going to check them for many different conditions as part of the screening process. A clubfoot is just one of those conditions that they regularly look for. A clubfoot is defined as when the foot is in a downward and inward position as compared with normal. This is technically known as a planterflexed, inverted and abducted placement of the foot. In the grand scheme of things a clubfoot is normally a relatively minor problem yet still may be very upsetting at the birth as it is visible. Usually, it’s an isolated problem, but occasionally it is part of a range of symptoms making up a syndrome. Those with this deformity may also be more likely to have a dislocated hip at birth. 
 
The treatment of a clubfoot would depend on the seriousness and nature of it. There are essentially two types of clubfoot; flexible and rigid. A flexible clubfoot is frequently managed with regular mobilization, manipulation and stretching out and then the foot is put into a plaster cast to hold it in a more changed position. After a period of time, that can depend on how severe it is, the plaster cast is removed and the foot is again mobilized and stretched with a new plaster cast being used after that to hold the foot in an much more corrected position. This process has been well researched to be commonly very effective. If this therapy is not successful or if the deformity is rigid then a surgical strategy is advised. Technically this can be a challenging surgery as the foot and structures are incredibly small. There are many structures from the bone, to the tendons, to the ligaments that has got to be operated on to move the foot in to a much more corrected position, making it challenging.