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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Club Feet
November 2001

Q. I have a 12-year-old grandson who was born with club feet. They were remedied with surgery. Now, I have a granddaughter who has a tendon problem and cannot straighten her legs. At 17 months she is walking on her knees. She has been taken to the doctor, but I would like to know if there is any connection between the two. We were told that club feet are hereditary, but no one else in the family has them.

A. A club foot deformity does indeed have a genetic link but can also occur spontaneously with no other known cases in the family. If one parent was born with a club foot, the child will have a 3% risk of the same condition. Treatment is either with casting and braces begun in early childhood, or surgery if this is not successful.

I would be worth investigating a link to the other grandchild's condition. This would depend on the specific diagnosis. Your community may well have a specialist in genetics associated with a medical school or children's hospital that can help in this regard.

WEB REFERENCES:

http://www.vh.org/Patients/IHB/Ortho/Peds/Clubfeet/Clubfeet.html

http://www.birthdefects.org/html_information/factsheets.html

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