Most clubfoot diagnoses are made during a prenatal ultrasound exam or immediately after birth.
Within the first weeks of your baby’s life, your child will begin weekly stretching sessions in which a specialist will gently and painlessly manipulate the ligaments and tendons of your baby’s foot. After stretching, a plaster cast will be applied to help reinforce the newly corrected shape and position. This process typically continues for six to eight weeks, gradually bringing your baby’s foot into the correct alignment.
Before your specialist applies the final cast, your baby will likely have a minor in-office procedure, called a percutaneous Achilles tenotomy. This involves making a tiny incision to the Achilles tendon. By the time the cast is removed, the tendon has healed and grown to the proper length.
After the last cast is removed, your child will be fitted for a special brace, consisting of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) attached at the ends of a lightweight bar. This brace must be worn 23 hours a day for three months. It is critical that the brace is worn exactly as prescribed, in order to ensure successful repositioning of the foot.
To ensure the correction holds, your child will continue to wear the AFO and bar during the night while sleeping for four years, or as prescribed.
Children who are diagnosed with clubfoot and treated early can be expected to lead normal lives—walking, running, jumping and playing just like their peers.