Congenital Foot Deformity Correction
Many babies are born with foot deformities that occur as a result of birth trauma, developmental abnormalities and other factors, causing abnormal positioning and turning of the feet and/or toes. While many of these conditions are not painful, they can affect a child's development and ability to walk and require prompt, effective treatment.
Some of the most common congenital foot deformities include:
- Metatarsus adductus
- Vertical talus
- Overlapping toes
Treatment for congenital deformities often begins with nonsurgical methods such as manipulation and casting to restore the foot into a normal position and hold it in place as it heals. When these treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be needed. Surgery for congenital deformities is often performed during the first year of life so that growth and development are not affected. The type of surgery performed depends on the location and severity of the deformity, but can often be done using minimally invasive techniques.
Children's Foot Deformities and Treatment
While children are affected by many of the same foot problems as adults, there are certain conditions that pertain specifically to children, many of which develop during the first few years of life.
Some of the foot problems most commonly affecting children include:
- Clubfoot - Clubfoot involves the foot turning inward to the side, resembling the head of a golf club. This condition can affect one or both feet and is usually present at birth, although the cause is unknown.
- In-toeing - Also known as pigeon toes, in-toeing involves walking with the feet turned inward. This condition usually occurs between 8 and 15 months, when the child begins to walk, and usually affects both legs.
- Heel pain - Pediatric heel pain is often caused by a disorder called calcaneal apophysitis, and is most common in children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Unlike adult heel pain that tends to improve as the day goes on, pediatric heel pain is often worse with walking and activity.
There are many treatment options available for pediatric foot problems. The best treatment for your child will depend on his or her individual condition, but may include stretching exercises, casting, orthotics and surgery. Many children can successfully overcome their foot problems and may play sports and continue to grow unaffected. Parents should bring their child to see a doctor at the first sign of foot problems in order to prevent the condition from causing permanent damage.