Clubfoot


Clubfoot is a term used to describe a deformed foot which is present in children at birth (congenital). Children born with clubfoot have one or both feet twisted out of shape or positioned in a way that the toes point towards the opposite leg and the sole cannot be placed flat on the ground. This happens when the tendons (tissues which connect the muscles to the bones) are shorter than normal. It can range from mild to severe and almost half of the affected children have it in both feet. Clubfoot is a common birth defect that can be treated completely if the treatment starts soon after birth. The exact cause of clubfoot is unknown but it has no link to the foetus’s position in the womb. 

Clubfoot is painless in babies but can cause discomfort if left untreated as the child grows. The only symptom that indicates club foot is the appearance of a child’s feet. The characteristics of a clubfoot may be as following:

  • The foot may be half an inch shorter than normal 

  • The foot may point downwards and inwards

  • The foot may appear upside down due to severe rotation​

You or your doctor may notice clubfoot in your child at birth. For the best possible treatment of your child, seek medical advice from one of our internationally trained doctors at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Clubfoot may be detected in a foetus when ultrasound is performed on the mother during pregnancy. Otherwise it is usually diagnosed soon after birth by the appearance of your child's foot. The doctor may also examine your child's hands, hips and legs to rule out any other deformities.

Your doctor may request an X-ray though mostly they are not necessary.

The treatment options include:

  • Ponseti method in which the baby’s foot is moved to the most normal position possible and placed in cast to maintain the position. The positioning and casting is done once or twice a week for several months. After the series of casting a minor surgery is performed on your child’s foot to lengthen the tendon which attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Once the shape is realigned, you may be asked to:

    • Do stretching exercises with your baby

    • Put your child in special shoes and braces

This method is successful but at times the braces are not used constantly, resulting in failure of the procedure

  • Surgery, when the clubfoot is severe. During surgery, the tendons are lengthened to assist the foot in returning to the normal position. Your child may be in a cast for up to two months post-surgery and then in a brace for a year to prevent the recurrence of the disorder  

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.