ClubFoot Symptoms, Prevention, Risk Factors And Treatment


Clubfoot is a term used to describe a number of foot malformations in which your baby's foot is twisted out of shape or position. This condition is frequently present from birth and is known as congenital. People with clubfoot have shorter-than-average tendon lengths, which are the tissues that connect muscles to bones. Clubfoot is a reasonably common birth abnormality that often affects only one infant who is otherwise healthy.

You might have moderate or severe clubfoot. Children who have clubfoot have it on both of their feet. Clubfoot will make it more difficult for your child to walk normally, therefore physicians often advise treating it as soon as possible after delivery.

Clubfoot is effectively treated medically without surgery, however, occasionally youngsters require a second operation down the road.


Idiopathic clubfoot has no established aetiology, however, it might include hereditary and environmental components.

How to check if you have ClubFoot?

Based on appearance, it is quite probable that your doctor will identify clubfoot shortly after your child is delivered. Your doctor might suggest the best course of action or recommend you to a paediatric orthopedist, a doctor who focuses on issues involving the bones and muscles.

Risk Factors

Clubfoot is nearly two times as likely to develop in boys than in females.

Risk elements consist of:

Family background. The newborn is more likely to have clubfoot if either parent or any of their prior children do.

Congenital disorders. Clubfoot can occasionally be linked to other skeletal abnormalities that are present at birth (congenital), such as spina bifida, a deformity that develops when the spine and spinal cord do not fully mature or close.

Environment. Smoking while pregnant can dramatically raise the likelihood that the baby will have clubfoot.

Amniotic fluid deficiency during pregnancy. Clubfoot risk may be exacerbated by insufficient amounts of the fluid that surrounds the foetus during the pregnancy.


Here is what a clubfoot could resemble in your child:

  • The arch is often raised, and the top of the foot is turned lower and inward, turning the heel inward.
  • The foot could be so contorted that it seems to be upside down.
  • The afflicted foot or leg could be a little bit shorter.
  • The afflicted leg's calf muscles are underdeveloped.
  • Despite how it seems, clubfoot does not hurt or make you uncomfortable.


Clubfoot can not entirely be prevented since medical professionals do not know what causes it. However, if you are expecting, there are things you can do to reduce your baby's chance of birth abnormalities, like:

  • Avoiding smoking and staying out of smoke-filled spaces
  • Abstaining from booze
  • Avoiding medications that your doctor has not approved


Treatment for clubfoot often starts in the first week or two following birth since your newborn's bones, joints, and tendons are highly flexible. Before your child starts to walk, the treatment's objective is to enhance the appearance and functionality of his or her foot in an effort to avert long-term impairments.

Options for treatment include:

  • Surgery
  • Casting and stretching (Ponseti technique)

Other courses of action your doctor can take are:

  • Your infant's foot should be moved into the proper position before being put in a cast to keep it there.
  • For several months, reposition and recast your infant's foot once per week.
  • At the conclusion of this operation, perform a little surgical procedure called a percutaneous Achilles tenotomy to stretch the Achilles tendon.

You will need to keep your baby's foot's form once it has been corrected using one or more of the following:

  • Stretching exercises while holding your infant
  • Putting your child's braces and special shoes on
  • Ensuring that your child wears the shoes and braces for the required amount of time, which is often full-time for three months and then at night and during naps for up to three years.
  • To ensure that the foot does not go back to its original position, you must correctly place the braces in accordance with your doctor's instructions. 


If your infant has severe clubfoot or does not improve with non-surgical remedies, more intrusive surgery might be required. In order to assist the foot move into a healthier posture, an orthopaedic surgeon may stretch or rearrange tendons and ligaments. After the treatment, your child could need to wear a brace for around a year, during which time they might be in a cast.

Clubfoot may not completely heal after therapy. However, most infants who receive treatment at a young age go on to wear regular shoes and have busy, fulfilling lives.

Complications of ClubFoot

The majority of the time, clubfoot does not present any issues until your child is able to stand and walk. Your youngster will most likely walk reasonably normally if the clubfoot is cured. He or she could experience some challenges with:

Movement. It is possible that the afflicted foot is a little less flexible.

Leg size. Although the afflicted limb may be somewhat shorter, this normally does not pose a serious mobility issue.

Size of your shoes. Up to 1 1/2 shoe sizes may separate the afflicted foot from the unaffected foot.

Calves' size. It is possible that the calf muscles of the afflicted side will always be smaller than the other side's.

Clubfoot, however, results in more significant issues if it is not addressed. These may consist of:

Arthritis. Arthritis is likely to strike your youngster.

Bad sense of oneself. The peculiar presentation during the adolescent years may cause your child to have concerns about their body image.

Not being able to walk properly. Your youngster could be unable to walk on the sole of their foot due to an ankle twist. In order to make up for it, he or she could walk on the top of the foot, the outside of the foot, or even the ball of the foot in extreme circumstances.

Alterations in walking that cause issues. Walking modifications might result in an uncomfortable stride, big sores or calluses on the foot, and the prevention of natural calf muscle growth.

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Page last reviewed: May 23, 2023

Next review due: May 23, 2025

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