Clubfoot is a deformity in which an infant's foot is turned up and inside often so severely that the bottom of the foot faces sideways or even upward. The chances of this developing in an infant are about one in every 1,000 births making it one of the more common congenital (present at birth) foot deformities.

Clubfoot is not painful during infancy. However, if your child's clubfoot is not treated, the foot will remain deformed, and he or she will not be able to walk normally. With proper treatment, however, most children can participate in physical activities with few limitations.


Most cases of clubfoot are successfully treated with nonsurgical methods that may include a combination of stretching, casting, and bracing, this usually begins shortly after birth.

Treatment consists of stretching and casting utilizing the Ponseti Technique; this is the most widely used technique in North America and throughout the World. The goal of treatment is to obtain a functional, pain-free foot that enables standing and walking with the sole flat on the ground. It consists of weekly application of casts to gradually correct the deformity. In some cases, when the Achilles tendon is very tight, a lengthening procedure is required. Once casting is complete, children wear braces on their feet to maintain the correction. The amount of time the braces must be worn each day decreases over the first year. Once the foot is fully aligned, the braces are used only at night until the child is four years old.


Clubfoot and normal foot

Clubfoot (also called talipes equinovarus) is a general term used to describe a range of unusual positions of the foot. Each of the following characteristics may be present, and each may vary from mild to severe:

  • The foot (especially the heel) is usually smaller than normal.
  • The foot may point downward.
  • The front of the foot may be rotated toward the other foot.
  • The foot may turn in and, in extreme cases, the bottom of the foot can point up.

Flatfoot in children: Overview

A flatfoot means that the bottom of the foot does not have the usual arch. Most children are flat-footed until they are between the ages of 3 and 5, when their arch develops normally. If your child's feet are flat after that time, it may mean that your child has inherited flatfeet. Having an injury, being very overweight, or having a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes also can cause the arch to flatten. One or both of your child's feet may be flat.

Flatfoot usually is not a serious problem. But some people do have pain if they gain weight or stand a lot. Your child also can have pain when walking or running. Your child can do exercises and wear pads and roomy shoes to help support their feet.

Foot Programs at Renown Children's Hospital

  • Ponseti casting for clubfoot
  • Surgery for congenital foot deformity
  • Bracing and orthotics for foot deformities