Clubfoot Questions and Answers

A: Clubfoot (also called talipes equinovarus) is a general term used to describe a range of unusual positions of the foot. Each of the following characteristics may be present, and each may vary from mild to severe:

  • The foot (especially the heel) is usually smaller than normal.
  • The foot may point downward.
  • The front of the foot may be rotated toward the other foot.
  • The foot may turn in (known as inversion), and in extreme cases the bottom of the foot can point up.

Most types of clubfoot are present at birth (congenital clubfoot). Clubfoot can occur in one foot or both feet. In almost half of affected infants, both feet are involved. Although clubfoot is painless in babies, treatment should begin immediately, as delaying therapy can cause significant problems as the child grows. With early treatment, most children born with clubfoot are able to lead normal lives.

A: The Ponseti Method is a nonsurgical treatment process that was developed by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti. The method utilizes a series of casts that gradually move the foot to the correct position. Each week the cast is removed and replaced with a new cast.

A: Following the 6 to 8 week casting period, the feet are held in proper position using a foot abduction brace (FAB). An ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is the shoe portion. The brace is worn 23 hours a day for a three- month period, then worn at night and nap sleep times as prescribed for up to four years to ensure the correction holds.