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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Club Feet
April 2002

Q. I just found out my unborn child might have a club feet. I've been reading about club feet and found that it is genetic. However, I have asked my family and my husband's family and no one has ever had club feet. If it isn't genetic how could it happen?

A. The cause of clubfoot is not known. It occurs in about 1 of every 1000 live births, affects boys more than girls, and involves both feet in 1 of 3 cases. Clubfoot refers to the condition in which the foot points in and downward.

When recognized at birth there is a high likelihood it will respond to treatment. The affected foot is placed in a small cast attempting to bring the foot back to normal alignment, and the cast is changed every 2 weeks or so to cause a gradual correction. This can continue for some months, and then special shoes or bracing is continued as the child begins to walk. In some cases this method is not sufficient and surgical correction is needed.



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