When it comes to newborns, I find there are so many questions that come up. As a physiotherapist who sees pediatrics the most common question I get is “is this normal?”, “should I be worried?”. In childhood development there is a WIDE range of “normal” development. It’s my job to assess if what you are concerned about is part of your child’s normal development or something that may need to be investigated further.
A Club foot is a condition that affects your newborns feet and occurs in 1 in 1000 births. It can be known as a “packaging” condition. In 80% of cases the cause of clubfoot is unknown (idiopathic). In the remaining 20%, causes such as genetic positions of the feet in the uterus or a congenital deformity are thought to be the cause. Infants who have an idiopathic clubfoot may have problems with
- Gross motor function
What is it?
Newborns with club foot have a foot that is positioned downwards and inward, in some cases the twist can be so severe that it looks like the foot is upside down. Like I said in up to 80% of cases we are unsure why this occurs
- Family History
- Congenital conditions ie spina bifida
- Smoking during pregnancy
- Decreased amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
How can Physiotherapy Help?
Depending on whether your baby has a positional or congenital club foot will depend on the treatment. Positional clubfoot means that the foot can be moved into the correct position so stretching and ranging from a physiotherapist is a good option.
Congenital clubfoot is where the muscle or connective tissue has shortened, meaning stretching won’t be as effective. This is when bracing may be beneficial to ensure the foot is maintained in the correct position for a prolonged time. This method is called the Ponseti method.
When concerned about your child’s foot and they have an observable difference it is always best to get them checked by a health care practitioner. Typically, this condition is picked up in hospital and they will give you advice and guidance moving forwards.