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What is Talipes Equinovarus
Talipes Equinovarus is a CONGENITAL ANOMALY in which an infant is born with one foot or both feet deformed into the shape of a club, hence the common term for the condition, “clubfoot.” The affected foot turns in and under at the heel, such that the top of the foot appears nearly upsidedown. All the bones, muscles, and other connective tissues are usually present though deformed in structure.
The anomaly forms in the last part of the first trimester of PREGNANCY when the muscles, bones, and connective tissues develop. Researchers do not know what causes talipes equinovarus though believe it is a combination of environmental factors (such as the fetus’s position in the UTERUS) and genetic factors. The condition must be corrected for the child to walk; treatment is most successful when it begins shortly after birth.
Talipes Equinovarus Treatment
The current standard of treatment is progressive casting during the first months of life, typically with the cast changed each week to move the foot slightly closer to normal position and gradually stretch the foot’s soft tissue structures (the Ponseti casting method). Often the doctor must cut the ACHILLES TENDON to allow it to lengthen so the foot may completely return to its normal position. When the foot finally reaches normal position, the doctor removes the casts and replaces them with a special brace that the child wears for two months. Some children require further bracing at night for another few months. After treatment, the foot looks and functions as normal.
See also BIRTH DEFECTS; BONE; GENETIC DISORDERS; MUSCLE.