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Clubfoot is a congenital disability and can be a problem as the child ages. This condition affects newborns and is characterized by specific feet placement. Infants who suffer from clubfoot generally have feet rotated inwards and downwards. You may also see one leg smaller than the other. There is no one exact cause, but it is sometimes linked to distal arthrogryposis and myelomeningoceleClubfoot can be diagnosed during an ultrasound or immediately after birth. It occurs in about 1 in every 1000 births, with male babies affected at twice the rate as female babies. Even though it is fairly serious, it is very treatable in most parts of the world.

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Tightening of the Achilles tendon

In babies that have clubfoot, the Achilles tendon will be tightened. This is due to the foot arching inwards, bringing forth constant stress to the tendon. By connecting the heel to the calf, the Achilles tendon will feel all the strain from clubfoot. In most circumstances, the best treatment would be manipulating the foot. During physical therapy, the doctor will both physically move the foot and make the baby do it. This is for establishing a better walking habit once the baby is ready to do so.

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Sensitivity of the Achilles tendon in later life

Due to the Achilles tendon being strained in early life, it can affect later life, too. The most important tendon in the body will feel this early strain. Children that get treated for clubfoot successfully will always be at risk of tearing it. The best way to treat this symptom is to be careful about the sports your child chooses. Before any physical activity, you should consult an orthopedist, just to gain insight. With regular massaging and stretching, the risk may go away completely. Care is especially needed in the first ten years of life.

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Pain in the Achilles area

Due to all the strain being within the area of the Achilles tendon, it may cause pain in the child's body. A way to notice this is through excessive crying from the infant. If its legs are up in the air and there is no strain on its body, it's the club food causing stress on its leg. The best way to treat this symptom is a procedure called Achilles tenotomy. It's a simple surgical procedure in which the doctor snaps the tightened tendon. The new one will grow to a normal length in about three weeks.

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Resting of the foot on its outer border

Since the foot is rotated inwards and slightly downwards, the child may seek balance this way. The outer border is by no means the place for keeping the balance of the entire leg. Continued walking this way can cause problems in later life. Fractures are possible. To treat this symptom, the child needs constant physical therapy from an early age. This can prove to be useful, as a young child can easily correct existing problems.

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An abnormal foot shape

In most extreme cases of clubfoot, the child may be born with a deformed foot shape. This deformity can not only cause walking problems but also prevent the baby from wearing footwear. If not treated early, the recovery time will be longer and longer. The earlier you tackled this problem, the easier it will be to fix. The only way to treat these severe cases of clubfoot is surgery. Invasive surgery is required to disconnect the tendons and the bones completely. By manually correcting the way the foot is shaped, doctors can reduce the damage in a matter of hours. Recovery, however, takes a few years to be completed.

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Rigid movements of the leg

When at a young age, the child is curious about exploring its own body. It does so by frequent and erratic movements. The legs are especially fun for the baby to monitor. If you see the baby moving the affected leg rigidly, the clubfoot may be causing bigger problems than expected. To treat this, you may need a combination of a cast and physical therapy. It depends on the case whether surgery will be needed or not.

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Downward pointing toes

Not all cases of clubfoot must be extreme deformities. Noticing milder cases in young children is difficult. This is because their bodies are still undeveloped. Without functional movements, you can assess the situation correctly. This is why downward facing feet may be a problem. Light surgery may be needed, or perhaps a weekly brace program. In the beginning, the child should wear the brace all the time. After some time, it may be wise to take the brace off at all times, except during the night. It is during this time that the baby may aggravate the condition even further.

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A smaller calf

The calf muscles are tasked with keeping the balance of the foot in a constant flow. Because the foot is deformed in this case, the muscle may atrophy and become weaker over time. If the child is suffering from clubfoot, this symptom may very easily cause problems in later life. This is why it's important to treat it accordingly. When facing this challenge, the only and best solution is intense physical therapy. Difficult walking and stretching exercises will be put to use to fix this problem. If not treated immediately, other problems might ensue later on.

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Limping in later life

Clubfoot makes one leg significantly weaker than the other. This causes an imbalance of strength concerning every leg-related movement. Later on, the person may limp significantly. There is a minority of cases that don't receive sufficient treatment. If they did not fee the defect early on, they can definitely feel it later as it grows. If the treatment was not done right in infancy, it will be almost impossible to correct.

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Sleeping problems

Because the muscles and joints are under tension, the baby might feel pain. Young children are especially sensitive to any overly pronounced sources of pain. The pain from clubfoot may keep them awake the whole night. This can even happen in milder cases, where the defect is not as evident. If you find your child is crying an unusual amount, take them to the pediatrician.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.