Foot Condition Present at Birth

Pediatric club foot is one of the most common congenital (present at birth) disorders of the foot and leg. Club foot can be mild and flexible or severe and rigid.

Many babies are born with club foot with no underlying cause. Club foot can occur as part of an underlying syndrome, or occasionally be passed down through families.

Penn State Pediatric Bone and Joint Institute provides comprehensive care for our patients with club foot. The team includes:

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Club foot and similar pediatric foot problems are typically discovered when the baby is born or during an ultrasound while the baby is in utero. For club foot, the baby’s foot turns inward and downward at birth and cannot be placed in the typical position of an unaffected foot. Club foot can affect one or both feet. Babies with club foot can have slightly smaller feet and calf muscles.

Our experts will identify club foot during a physical exam. A foot X-ray may occasionally be performed to help your baby’s physician get a more in-depth look at the foot.

The outcome for children with club foot is positive. With a comprehensive treatment plan in place, it’s possible for your child’s foot position to be significantly improved through casting and procedures. Many children with clubfoot will enjoy excellent function after correction. Regular monitoring is recommended until your child’s foot is fully grown.

Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Care

Specialized Club Foot Treatment Options

Our pediatric orthopaedic experts at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital will create an individual treatment plan. Treatment for club foot usually includes gradual stretching to move the foot into a corrected position then using a cast to keep it there. Our pediatric orthopaedic experts will make a timing recommendation when your your child needs to be casted. It is easiest to reshape your child’s foot shortly after birth. 

Your child’s feet will be recasted every few week to continue improving their foot position. Children will typically be casted between five and 10 times. Most babies with club foot will require surgery. The tightened Achilles tendon will typically require a release procedure. Once the Achilles tendon is released, the foot is corrected and casting is complete with the final cast staying in place for three weeks.

Your child’s next treatment stage involves wearing braces full-time for a few months. Your child will then need to wear braces at night and during naps for up to four years of age. Some children can require further surgery during their growing years. Our pediatric orthopaedic team will continue to monitor your child and make recommendations to improve your child's foot appearance and function.

Penn State Pediatric Bone and Joint Institute

Our team of pediatric orthopaedic specialists at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital will work closely with you and your child to provide comprehensive club foot care. Our experts have access to leading-edge facilities and treatment options at Penn State Pediatric Bone and Joint Institute. Our specialists are also proud members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America.

Commitment to Research

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital frequently participates in clinical trials for medical conditions such as club foot. For more information on clinical trials at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, please visit StudyFinder.

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

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