Restoring Form and Function to Young Feet
With clubfoot ("talipes equinovarus"), a child is born with a curving in of the foot that is so severe that the bottom of the foot faces inward or even upward. Clubfoot can also develop in children with certain neuromuscular disorders. At the Clubfoot Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, we treat clubfoot starting within the first weeks of your child's life. In most of our patients, we are able to treat it successfully without surgery, enabling children to live normal, active lives. Your child benefits from:
- A Team of Clubfoot Specialists: Our pediatric orthopedic surgeons work with pediatric orthotists to customize your child's care. As parents, you are also important members of our team. We provide education and counseling about what you can expect and how to care for your child during treatment.
- An Emphasis on Nonsurgical Care: Our clubfoot specialists have training and experience with the Ponseti method of manipulation and casting, which we administer with precision and compassion. We are able to treat more than 90 percent of our patients using this approach, reserving surgery only for those children whose clubfoot cannot be corrected with casting.
- Expert Surgery for Those in Need: If we determine that your child needs surgery, we typically perform the procedure when your child is 6 to 12 months old. The operation involves "releasing" certain soft tissues to loosen abnormally tight tendons and ligaments, such as the Achilles tendon, followed by a cast and splinting to maintain the correction. We understand that having your child undergo surgery at such a young age can be challenging, so we provide you with the education and support you and your family need during this time.
- Leaders in Research: Our doctors contribute to clubfoot research by measuring the success of our treatments and following patient outcomes over time to determine the most effective therapies.
Thanks to advances in the treatment of clubfoot, most children born with clubfoot are walking at the appropriate age and have normal use of their feet and ankles by the time they start school. The majority go on to participate in a full range of activities and competitive sports. For example, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi were both born with clubfoot. Although clubfoot can represent a difficult challenge for you and your child, most kids go on to have normal, happy, healthy lives.