Clubfoot

Overview

Definition

Clubfoot is a birth defect that causes the foot to turn in and point down. The tendons that connect the leg muscles to the foot are too short and tight. A clubfoot is usually smaller than a normal-sized foot.

Causes

The cause is not known. It may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Achilles Tendon and Related Muscles
Achilles Tendon action
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Clubfoot is more common in men. It is also more common in people who have other family members with clubfoot.

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

A clubfoot appears at birth and may affect one or both feet. The foot may:

  • Turn inward and downward, and will not straighten
  • Have a deep crease on the bottom
  • Be slightly smaller than normal
  • Have a calf muscle that is slightly smaller

Diagnosis

A clubfoot is diagnosed at birth based on how the foot looks. It may also be diagnosed before birth during an ultrasound.

Prenatal Ultrasound
Fetal Ultrasound
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Treatments

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to correct the foot so the child can walk with it flat on the ground. Treatment needs to be started early. Options are:

  • A series of casts to stretch the tissues of the foot and reshape it
  • A brace to keep the foot from twisting back to where it was before casting

Children with severe clubfoot may need surgery. It can help repair deformed tendons and muscles.

Prevention

There are no guidelines to prevent clubfoot. The cause is not known.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

RESOURCES

American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org 

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons https://orthoinfo.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada https://www.canada.ca 

When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://whenithurtstomove.org 

References

Clubfoot. Johns Hopkins website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/clubfoot. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Clubfoot. KidsHealth—Nemours Foudation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/clubfoot.html. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Clubfoot. Massachusetts General Hospital Orthopedic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/ortho-childrens/conditions-treatments/clubfoot.aspx. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Clubfoot. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00255. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Clubfoot. Seattle Children's website. Available at: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/clubfoot. Accessed September 17, 2020.