According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, clubfoot is one of the most common congenital disabilities in the United States. It affects about 1 out of every 1,000 babies born each year. While there is no cure for clubfoot, treatments can help children with this condition live everyday life. In this post, we will discuss Assistive Technology options available to help children with clubfoot.
Over the past few decades, there has been a tremendous amount of study about what treatment is best for clubfoot. Previously, surgical correction, particularly an extended posteromedial soft tissue release, was the standard treatment method. However, this procedure has been discovered
to produce significant scarring, joint stiffness, muscular weakness, gait abnormalities, and relapse rates.
It’s also been reported that a mild traumatic strain can result in inflammation of the tissues around the fractured metatarsal. Furthermore, skin necrosis and neurovascular injuries have been observed. Moreover, the deformity may be over-or under-corrected, with the talus being flattened or even causing necrosis.
The Best Assistive Technology that can Help Clubfoot in Children :
Some of the recent assistive technologies that can significantly help clubfoot in children include the Foot Angel, Ponseti casting method, ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), and surgery.
1. Foot Angel
The Foot Angel is a crucial assistive technology that helps to keep the heel in an elevated position. You can wear it at night or during the day. This will help stretch the Achilles tendon and improve the muscle tone of the calf muscles.
2. Ponseti Casting Method
Another assistive technology is the Ponseti casting method. Over time, this series of casts are applied to the feet and legs to correct clubfoot deformity. The AFO is a brace worn on the outside of the shoe and helps maintain alignment of the foot and ankle. Surgery may be necessary if other treatments have not been successful. It should only be used as a last resort.
3. Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs)
Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) are braces worn on the outside of the shoe that help maintain the foot and ankle alignment. AFOs are typically used to correct deformities such as clubfoot and can be helpful in children with cerebral palsy.
There are a variety of AFO designs available, which can be custom-made or purchased from a medical supply store. AFOs should be fitted and sized by a professional familiar with their use. It is vital to check the fit and function of AFOs regularly and adjust them as needed.
Given the high risk of consequences and long-term ramifications, treatment choices have gradually shifted to a non-operative approach utilizing the Ponseti technique. If done correctly, the method has become the standard of care and eliminates the necessity for extensive surgical repair in almost 98% of cases.
Cast, percutaneous Achilles tenotomy, and limb bracing are used to treat clubfoot in children. Manipulation, casts, percutaneous Achilles tenotomy, and foot bracing are all part of the treatment. In as little as 16 days using an accelerated casting method, You can obtain full correction in most cases. Most significantly, long-term follow-ups have shown that patients are happy with the procedure and have good functional outcomes.