SSM Health Medical Minute – Club Foot occurs in 1/1000 births

Club foot is a birth defect in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position. Clubfoot is a fairly common birth defect thought to affect 1 in 1,000 births. It is usually an isolated problem for an otherwise healthy newborn. Clubfoot can be mild or severe and about half of children born with the deformity have it in both feet.

Clubfoot is usually twisted downward and inward, increasing the arch and turning the heel inward. But the foot may be turned so severely that it actually looks as if it’s upside down. Dr. Jasmin McGinty, a SLUCare Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital says most infants who will be born with clubfoot can be identified in utero. Expecting moms often meet with Dr. McGinty before their baby is born to map out the treatment plan which starts just a few weeks after birth.

Many parents fear clubfoot is painful to their child, but Dr. McGinty says it is painless. She follows the proven Poinseti method including a gradual lengthening of the stiff ligaments with proper gentle manipulation and plaster casts starting as soon as a few weeks after birth. Within the first year of life, the infant will graduate from the casts to braces that eventually get used only at night. Outcomes show that babies who are treated quickly, lose no development in their infancy than patients born without clubfoot.

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital follows each patient’s progress until they are fully grown to ensure their patient’s lead a normal life following treatment.

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The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.