Club Foot

Club foot is a complex deformity of the foot that can be found in the normal child or can be associated with other disorders. It may involve one or both feet and is present at birth. The diagnosis is made in the newborn nursery and through ultrasound prior to birth. The cause of club foot is not known.

Club foot can be diagnosed by examination of the foot. X-rays are not necessary to make the diagnosis.

Club foot is present at birthThe foot resembles the end of a golf club (hence its name). The foot is curved in toward the midline, and the toes point down. If the infant has bilateral club feet (both feet are involved), the soles of the feet face each other.

Treatment most commonly consists of a series of castings in the newborn over a period of several weeks with frequent cast changes to gradually correct the deformity. Often, the heel cord needs to be lengthened during this time. This requires a small incision, followed by a final cast. Once the foot is corrected by casting, it is important to maintain the correct position by wearing the brace your doctor prescribes.

For those feet that do not respond to casting, surgery is required once the child gets a little older (between 6 and 12 months). Additional surgeries may be required as the child gets older if some deformity still exists.

The goal of treatment is a normal-appearing foot that fits well in shoes, functions normally and does not cause pain.

  • Any drainage is noticed on the cast
  • Any foul smelling odors come from inside the cast
  • The skin at the edges of the cast becomes very red, sore or irritated
  • Your child runs a fever of 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit or higher without an explanation, like a cold or viral illness

If you need to reach the orthopaedic nurse before 4 pm Monday through Friday, call 513-636-4567. After 4 pm and during weekends and holidays, call 513-636-4200 and ask that the orthopaedic resident on call be paged.

Last Updated 05/2015