Clubfoot is a deformity of the foot that causes the foot to turn inward and downward. The Achilles tendon becomes tight, which pulls the heel upward toward the leg and prevents the foot from being able to sit flat on the ground. A clubfoot is usually smaller than a normal-sized foot.
Clubfoot is caused by a deformity in the development of the muscles, tendons, and bones of the foot. It is present at birth. The cause of clubfoot is unknown. There is some belief that clubfoot can be inherited in some cases. It is not thought to be caused by position in the womb.
Clubfoot occurs more often in men than in women. Because the cause of clubfoot is not understood, not many of the risk factors for this condition are known. However, having a family history of clubfoot may increase your chance of developing it.
Clubfoot can be corrected, but it is best to start treatment as early as possible—sometimes right after birth. Treatment options include:
With casting, the foot is manually moved into a better position. It is placed in a series of casts. A new cast is put on every week for 5-10 weeks to stretch the soft tissues of the foot and reshape it.
After the initial casting procedure is completed, a brace is used at night and during naps.
American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Clubfoot. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00255. Updated September 2014. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Clubfoot. Seattle Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/bone-joint-muscle-conditions/clubfoot/. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Clubfoot. Massachusetts General Hospital Orthopedic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/ortho/services/pediatrics/clubfoot.aspx. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Eastwood DM, Sanghrajka AP. Guided growth: recent advances in a deep-rooted concept. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011;93(1):12-18.
van Bosse HJ. Ponseti treatment for clubfeet: an international perspective. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2011;23(1):41-45.
Zionts LE, Dietz FR. Bracing following correction of idiopathic clubfoot using the Ponseti method. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2010;18(8):486-493.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.