May 10, 2011

Clubfoot Babies Endure Less & Benefit More from Novel Non-Invasive Treatment

Babies born with clubfoot would earlier be left with no option but to undergo major surgical procedure & several months long of excruciating rehab for a likelihood of walking in a normal way.

However, currently, a novel non invasive therapy approach which deploys a specially created pair of footwear has proven to meet with remarkable success.

In clubfoot condition, innate ankle twisting occurs as a result of which the foot would be pointed downwards & sole of that foot would be inwards-directed. The cause for this condition which afflicts 1 from eight hundred infants is yet unknown, though it could be inherited. In case not treated, such children would never be capable of walking independently.

The new-fangled multiple-staged technique heralded by Conventry Univ. Hosp. experts entails a least invasive operative procedure performed after anesthetizing (local) the child for releasing the Achilles tendon that is anchoring the calf muscles to the heels and which is particularly rigid & stiff in babies with clubfoot.

Subsequent to this, encasing of the afflicted foot/ feet is done in casts, starting from beneath the knees, to be kept for 3 weeks whilst tendon healing occurs. The casts are prepared from a specially created bendable plaster-similar matter which could be undone similar to bandages. Cast removal would be done one day per week & manual manipulation of the feet done for moving them slowly into the apt position. Replacements of the casts are then done for holding the limbs in position.

Conventionally, such infants would be plastered from hips onwards till toes, however it has been found to further affect usual child development. In the novel process, knees would be free for flexing; hence, muscle growth isn’t hampered in any way.

Once cast removal is done, specially created laced-up shoes maintained in apt position with metallic bars are donned that hold the foot in rectified positioning. Doctors advice parents on keeping the boot on the affected foot of the baby for twenty-three hours daily for a period of 3 months & then during nights for an additional 3-4 years.

Consultant team from Coventry have been doling out this treatment to nearly twenty infants having clubfoot on a weekly basis. Prior to this novel strategy, such a child would have to go through major surgical procedure when they are 9 months of age. Basically, what ensued was taking apart the afflicted feet & then re-assembling them together & stabilizing using wires was the sad course of treatment. Recovering from this was quite excruciating for these babies & undeniably, infection risks hang high.

This procedure translates to the grim fact that there would be delay in walking observed in such babies for quite some time & due to this at times, patients might never be capable of walking in a normal manner ever again. Presently, experts here commence therapy seven days post-birth and the clubfoot placed in cast to start moving it when the bone makeup is yet malleable. Post-six weeks, the child would undergone minor surgical procedure on that foot/ feet & subsequent to additional 3 weeks placed in casts he/ she would be made to don the boots.

This new-fangled process is not merely lesser pain-causing & risk-less though the children would also be ending up with greater foot flexibility.

Many mothers in such situations find out about their babies having clubfoot during their regular ultrasound scans during mid or last trimester of pregnancy. It can be utterly devastating for them, many of them not having any history of clubfoot in their families. However, physicians do assure such women that it could be resolved no sooner has the child been born. Now, with this novel process being unfurled a lot more mothers have a reason to feel optimistic in this unanticipated depressing situation.

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