Talipes (Club Foot)

Club Foot is an abnormality where the feet take on an abnormal position in reference to the lower leg. Most commonly the foot is turned inwards and upwards. This may affect either one or both feet to varying degrees. It is a relatively common fetal malformation and occurs in 1 in 500 to 1 in 1000 live births. Half of these cases will be detected by ultrasound before birth and is most commonly detected at the 19-21 week morphology scan.

The cause of club feet is not completely understood. In the majority of fetuses there is no known hereditary predisposition and no genetic anomaly.

The baby will otherwise develop normally during the pregnancy and further evaluation provides no benefit to the pregnancy. The baby will be delivered as usual and at a convenient time after delivery the baby will be reviewed by a paediatrician and the foot/feet examined in detail. In the majority of cases these babies will require nothing more than physiotherapy to establish the normal muscle tone on either side of the ankle joint and return the lower limb and foot to normal function.  A small percentage of babies following delivery will also require plaster of Paris for a short period of time or surgical correction of the club foot.