Recurrent clubfoot is a condition where a child's previously corrected clubfoot deformity returns after initial treatment. Clubfoot is a congenital foot deformity where the foot is twisted inward and downward. It affects about 1 in 1,000 newborns.
Clubfoot can be successfully treated with early intervention, usually within the first few weeks after birth. Treatment involves a combination of nonsurgical and surgical methods, such as casting, bracing, and in some cases, surgery.
The exact causes of recurrent clubfoot are not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Here are some of the possible causes:
Genetics: Clubfoot can run in families, and children with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop clubfoot. If one parent has clubfoot, the risk of their child having it is around 3-4%, and if both parents have it, the risk increases to 30-50%.
Developmental factors: Recurrent clubfoot may also be related to abnormal fetal positioning in the uterus, which can put pressure on the foot and cause it to develop abnormally.
Environmental factors: Certain environmental factors, such as maternal smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy, may increase the risk of clubfoot and recurrent clubfoot.
Treatment-related factors: In some cases, recurrent clubfoot may be related to inadequate treatment or failure to adhere to the treatment plan.
The treatment of recurrent clubfoot depends on the severity of the deformity and the child's age. Here are some of the most common treatment options:
Casting: The foot is placed in a cast that is changed every week or two to gradually correct the deformity. This process may take several weeks to several months.
Bracing: After the casting is complete, the child may wear a brace to maintain the correction and prevent recurrence.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve muscle strength and range of motion.
Soft tissue release: The tight ligaments and tendons around the foot and ankle are released to allow the foot to be repositioned.
Osteotomy: Bones in the foot or ankle may be cut and realigned to improve foot position.
Fusion: In severe cases, bones in the foot or ankle may be fused together to maintain proper position.