I am pregnant and I was told my baby had club foot during my 18 week scan. How likely is this to affect him and can it be treated?

Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld, CEO and co-founder of MiracleFeet (miraclefeet.org), which aims to eliminate untreated clubfoot worldwide, says: “Although clubfoot is a serious disease, it is one of the most common birth defects and, luckily, treatable.

“Clubfoot is the result of abnormal development of muscles, tendons and bones in the foot. Recent studies show it occurs in one in 600 to 800 births, depending on where in the world you live. Its exact causes are largely unknown, but likely include genetic and environmental factors.

“Clubfoot causes one or both feet to turn inward and downward, and they become rigid due to a strained Achilles tendon. Almost all cases occur in babies who are otherwise healthy – the position of their feet being their only medical barrier to a great quality of life.

“While being diagnosed with clubfoot can come as a shock, the good news is that over 95% of children treated early can lead active, healthy lives, with little or no lasting effects. You might think you’ve never seen someone with clubfoot, and that’s because it’s so treatable.

“In the UK or in countries with advanced medical care, the chances of your child having significant clubfoot impairment are close to zero. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere, with extreme global inequalities in families’ access to quality treatment.

“The preferred treatment, known as the Ponseti method, involves doing a cast for six to eight weeks to gently reposition the feet, followed by a simple procedure that releases the Achilles tendon. Finally, infants wear a splint. abduction of the foot to prevent relapses, 23 hours a day for the first three months, then only when sleeping for several years.

“A healthcare professional will advise you on the exact length of time a splint should be worn. Numerous studies, including MiracleFeet’s own data, show that consistent fitting is the most likely factor in determining long-term success.

“Ideally, treatment should begin within weeks of birth when the tendons and ligaments are at their peak of elasticity. In healthcare systems like the UK’s, in utero diagnosis means that parents and doctors can plan the treatment of an infant during pregnancy.

“Yet today, 90% of children with clubfoot are born in low- and middle-income countries, where few receive proper care. As a result, many of them suffer from severe disability, social stigma and various risk factors throughout their lives. MiracleFeet’s mission is to eliminate untreated clubfoot by ensuring that every child has the opportunity to benefit from this early intervention and to thrive. “

Register now to our newsletter