Clubfoot is defined as a congenital foot deformity characterized by a kidney shaped foot that turns inward and points down. The forefoot is curved inward, the heel is bent inward, and the ankle is fixed in planter flexion with the toes pointing down. Shortened tendons on the inside of the lower leg, together with abnormally shaped bones that restrict movement outwards cause the foot to turn inwards. A tightened achilles tendon causes the foot to point downwards. The medical term for clubfoot is talipes equinovarus . It is the most common congenital disorder of the lower extremity. There are several variations, but talipes equinovarus being the most common. Clubfeet occurs in approximately 1 in every 800-1000 babies, being twice as common in boys than girls. One or both feet may be affected.
The history of clubfeet began as far back as 400 B.C. Hipocrates was the first to describe it. He used bandages to treat it. As time progressed so did the treatment methods. In about 1743 gentle stretching was recommended. During that same century, a mechanical device resembling a turnbuckle was used to help stretch the tendons. By this time clubfoot was pretty well known around the world, using the typical stretching and splinting methods. In the 1800's plaster of paris was first introduced, and later that same century, the introduction of aseptic technique and anasthesia diminished, but not eliminated infection. As the 70's and 80's rolled around, other more reliable methods were depended upon. These new methods were less dependent on wrapping and taping. The majority of clubfeet results from abnormal development of the muscles, tendons, and bones while the baby is forming in the uterus. Genetic and environmental factors in the development of the fetus seem to also be some of the causes. The disturbance of the normal growing foot probably occurs at about the eighth week of pregnancy. The cause of the foot growing deformed is unknown,...
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