Hello, my name is Simon. I am a 59-year-old man who lives alone in downtown Perth. I am pleased to say that I have never had to spend a night in a hospital. This is because I know how to take care of myself. When I was growing up my grandpa often used to tell me that if you eat well and exercise, you will live a long life. He died aged 95, so he must have known something. However, it was only when I became friends with a doctor, that I discovered all the other things I could do to stay healthy. I decided to start this blog to encourage others to look after their health.
Of all the congenital birth defects that can complicate a child's entrance into the world, club foot is one of the least severe and the most easily treated. Non-surgical treatments to correct club feet, such as braces, splints and corrective casting, are very effective, and most children born with one or more club feet with respond well to them. However, in severe or unusual cases, this non-invasive treatments may not be enough to correct the problem, and surgical intervention may be required.
How can surgery correct a child's club foot?
In some cases of club foot, clubbing is too severe for non-surgical methods to be effective, while other children may not respond well to the extensive taping and bracing that often constitutes non-surgical correction. In these cases, the contracted tendons, ligaments and soft tissues which cause the foot to become deformed are not corrected, and toughen as they age to the point where these treatments may no longer be effective. The aim of surgical club foot correction is to release and reconstruct these tissues, allowing the foot to fall into a natural position with the sole flat against the ground.
What does surgery for club feet involve?
If your child is faced with the prospect of undergoing corrective club foot surgery, the procedure that is used with depend on the severity of the child's club foot. In minor cases, or cases where prior non-surgical correction has been partially effective, the orthopaedic surgeon may only need to loosen the Achilles tendon (the tendon which stretches from the calf muscles over the heel of the foot) to allow the foot to fall into proper position. These small-scale surgeries can be performed with keyhole incisions, dramatically speeding healing times and minimising the amount of pain and discomfort your child endures.
However, in more advanced cases of clubbing, several tendons and ligaments may need to be loosened, and in rare cases the bones of the child's foot will need to be reshaped slightly to allow the foot to return to the proper position. In these cases, multiple incisions and more invasive procedures may need to be performed, so many parents choose to space their child's surgeries out over a period of time to minimise the amount of pain and debilitation their child experiences.
What happens after the surgery?
After corrective surgery has been completed, your child will have to wear a cast for a while. These casts are worn for longer than casts used for broken bones, as they guide the affected foot into the proper position and provide much-needed support for muscles that may have atrophied as a result of the club foot (some orthopaedic surgeons recommend low-impact physiotherapy during the recovery process, to increase strength and flexibility of underused muscles). If your child is very young, the cast may need to be replaced several times to account for rapid childhood growth. However, once the cast comes off, your child should be left with a healthy, functional foot.Share
12 May 2016