The dreams and hopes of every future parent is for their child to be born healthy and without any disorders, ailments, or other problems that would hinder their development. Sadly, there are many instances of children having some sort of issue, big or small, that the parents have to deal with right from the moment of the little one’s birth. Not always life threatening nor something that could be deemed a disability, it still presents a problem that should not left untreated.
One such anomaly is known as talipes equinovarus (TEV), a common type of clubfoot as it is known more widely. Doctors are able to spot it relatively soon after birth when they realize the infant’s angles and/or feet are not positioned as they should be. TEV can present itself in a few different varieties when the foot either points downward, inward, or outward. Respectively, these different anomalies are also called equinus, varus, and supinatus. Treatment is possible and it is effective. Read along to learn how it is usually treated in infants and be sure to check out Talipes for more info on this.
Treatment of Clubfoot in Infants
The bones, joints, and tendons in newborns are quite flexible since they are still forming and growing. This means that the treatment of clubfoot begins immediately after birth, a mere week or two after the child is welcomed into the world. The ultimate goal is for the feet of the child to look and work as it should before they start learning how to walk. Such an approach prevents long-term disabilities as the child gets to walk as if nothing had happened.
The treatment that implies stretching and casting is also known as the Ponseti method. It is the most common and widespread treatment for clubfoot, and one that shows a lot of results. The doctor moves the foot (or feet) into the correct position and puts it (them) in a cast. The cast holds it in place and allows the bones, joints, and tendons to form in the right position. As the child grows over the upcoming weeks, the feet are repositioned and recast to allow for more precise and complete healing to take place. This is done once a week for a few months.
The final step of the Ponseti method is a minor surgery that needs to take place in order for the Achilles tendon to be lengthened a bit. This surgical procedure is called percutaneous Achilles tenotomy and it is a routine procedure that is not dangerous. It is actually the final step in the treatment of clubfoot after which the little one is free to learn how to walk as if they have never experienced the anomaly.
Maintaining the New Shape
After the realignment of the foot, there needs to be regular maintenance so that it never goes back. This is done by stretching exercises and wearing special shoes and/or braces for around three months.
Although either of the two work, parents are advised to combine both methods just in case. Follow the directions of your child’s doctor when it comes to the braces and there should be no issues.