Clubfoot is curable when detected early

CLUBFOOT is a congenital deformity characterized by the foot or feet curving inwards. It can occur in four abnormalities like around the forefoot, midfoot, hinde foot and the ankle. The foot tends to point down and inwards as the soles of the feet face each other, and the cause is not known (idiopathic).

According to James Kimbowa, a senior orthopedic officer at Mulago National Referral Hospital, the deformity can be treated when detected early.

In the Global Clubfoot Report 2013 produced by the Global Clubfoot Initiative, 2014 shows that clubfoot affects around 160 to 200,000 children born each year with 80% of these in low and middle-income countries.

Treatment for clubfoot
Kimbowa says, there are two types of treatment, that is, conservatively and surgically and can be found in all district regional referral and PNFP’s (Private and Not For Profit) hospitals in Uganda.

He continues to say that when the caretakers report early to Hospital and follow instructions treatment cannot fail.

An infant undergoing casting and bracing

Conservative method is a serial casting and bracing which is done on the leg for months to correct the position of the leg.

Surgical method involves tendon transfers and releases.

According to the review article by Ganesan Balasankar, Luximon Ameersing and Adel Al-Jumaily from the Department of FEIT, University of Technology Sydny, NSW, Australia and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University which was accepted in 27 August 2016, there are a number of surgical techniques used to correct clubfoot. Clubfoot treated with surgical techniques might suffer severe complications like sift tissues contractures, neuro-vascular infections and shortening of the limbs.

However the conservative treatment is considered the best since it is widely accepted among orthopaedists.

Experts say, although clubfoot is curable it is still challenging to cure clubfoot in advance stages. Children with neglected clubfoot will have difficulties in walking and other complications in social activities.

Across 139 countries, an estimated 168,380 children were born with clubfoot in 2013.

Conferring to the Global clubfoot report 2013, Clubfoot is a congenital condition that in up to 95% of cases can be treated successfully using a largely non-surgical technique. Treatment is most effective if initiated early, ideally during infancy.

A total of 21,515 children were enrolled for treatment in 2013 for the 39 countries that provided data. The 39 countries included make up 28% of the total 139 low and middle-income countries identified by the World Bank. Across 139 countries, an estimated 168,380 children were born with clubfoot in 2013.
“Uganda being up [on] the [list of] 39 countries had 377 children enrolled for treatment in 2013.”

Symptoms of clubfoot
What to look out for that may show a baby has club foot, in most cases the top of the foot twists inwards and downwards.

The foot may look as if it is upside down.
If one foot is affected, it is usually slightly shorter than the other at the heel.

“Uganda being up [on] the [list of] 39 countries had 377 children enrolled for treatment in 2013.”

Kimbowa recommends that all parents take their children for treatment immediately they realize a child has clubfoot right from birth. “People should cease from believing that clubfoot is a traditional problem but rather seek the doctor’s advice for treatment and help.”


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