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(tăl`əpēz'), deformity in which the foot is twisted out of position. Maldevelopment is usually congenital, although it can result from injury or disease (e.g., poliomyelitis) after birth. It can affect one or both feet. Often the foot is twisted downward, with the heel and toe turning inward, causing only part of the foot—the heel, the toes, or the outer margin—to touch the ground; walking is difficult or impossible. Correction can be made in infancy by manipulation, braces, and casts; in severe cases only surgery can correct the condition.



a permanent deformation of the foot, characterized by the bringing of the anterior part inward, the flexing of the sole, and the enlargement of the longitudinal arch of the foot.

Clubfoot is most often congenital and is accompanied by changes in the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the foot. At its origin lie hereditary causes or disturbances in the sex cells of the parents (for example, change in the set of chromosomes as a result of alcoholism, syphilis, and certain other diseases of the father or mother). In children who have not begun to walk, the changes are not so vivid; the foot only passively turns in the correct position. In the severe form of clubfoot there are marked changes in the bones of the feet, and the deformity is almost impossible to correct. Serving as support during walking is the outer anterior part of the foot, on which is formed a large, calloused thickening.

Treatment of congenital clubfoot is begun in the first days of an infant’s life (as soon as the umbilicus falls off). Therapeutic exercises are conducted six to seven times a day during the first days. After ten to 12 days treatment is carried out by means of the application of plaster casts in stages until the foot remains in correct position. If conservative treatment is not successful by the age of 2½i to three, an operation is performed, with subsequent application of a plaster cast for six months.

The cause of acquired clubfoot may be poliomyelitis or inflammatory processes and traumas of the foot and leg. Treatment consists of the application of plaster casts in stages and sometimes surgery—that is, transplantation of muscles and arthrodesis; more rarely, the condition is treated by osteotomy of bones of the leg and foot.



Congenital malpositioning of a foot such that the forefoot is inverted and rotated with a shortened Achilles tendon.
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As an orthopaedic surgeon who has treated numerous cases of clubfoot in my career, I know that it takes exceptional parents to deal with the challenges of a child born with a clubfoot.