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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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For Patients and Families

Although a diagnosis of clubfoot is understandably upsetting to parents, the condition is treatable. When a child is an infant, the condition is not painful. Early diagnosis and treatment is highly recommended for the best results.

Diagnosis

Sometimes clubfoot can be diagnosed during the 16-week ultrasound before a baby is born. Otherwise clubfoot may be diagnosed during the first physical exam after a baby is born.

Looking at the foot, ankle, and leg is usually enough for a doctor to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor will also order an X-ray to make sure of the condition and get a clear picture of the bones.

Treatment

Casting

Especially when treatment is started early, castings to re-position the foot or feet over the course of about three months are the first step. After castings are complete, we will fit your child with special boots that attach to a brace. Your child will wear the boots for two years. These boots do not prevent your child from learning to walk.

Alternate

In more severe cases, the stretching and casting method may not work and surgery is needed to correct the problem. Surgery will most likely adjust the tendons, joints, and ligaments of the foot and ankle in order to correct the positioning of the foot. The surgery is typically done between 9-12 months of age. Following the surgery, a cast is worn to help the muscles heal correctly, followed by wearing leg braces for one year.

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