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Flat Feet

Flatfoot though which is flexible, meaning that when you stand the child on their toes, they get their arch back, and their foot can plantar flex and dorsiflex easily, this is usually not of any long term import, they used to give these kids orthotics, they donít do anything in the long term, this is another one of those things that goes along with ligaments laxity and is a variant of normal flat foot.

Club foot consists of metatarsus adductus, equina which is plantar flexion, you canít dorsiflex their ankle and varus which is supination or inversion, turning in of the foot. This is pretty common, one in a thousand live births, 20% of these children will have development dysplasia of the hip. This is a real association, so you have to be very careful and really examine children with clubfeet very carefully for DDH. If this is unilateral, bilateral half the time, but if itís unilateral the affected foot and calf will always be smaller. Thatís because this is probably not a packaging defect, this is probably either a germ plasm defect, neurovascular insult or intrauterine compartment syndrome. No one is really sure exactly what, but itís not a packaging thing.

Treatment wise, about 25% of these can be corrected with stretch casting alone where you cast the feet every two weeks for several months and gradually correct the deformities out. Itís not an easy thing to do, thereís an art to it and practitioners are different in how much success they have with that, but overall, 75% of these children come to surgery, the surgery is complicated and you basically have to release everything thatís not in the right position or tight, and gradually get the foot into a flat corrected position. After treatment, these children have very good function in their feet and itís essentially normal usually.

Cavus foot is a high arched foot, generally speaking, they can usually be managed with bracing, some need surgery, but the important thing here is that particularly unilateral cavus foot or a cavus foot that seems to be progressive is often a marker for a neurologic disorder such as Freidrichís ataxia or a spinal cord tumor or something like that. So you have to do a careful neurologic exam and send the child on to a neurologist if you have any suspicions about this. Calcaneal valgus foot, mentioned it briefly, itís usually a packaging defect that resolves, there is a differential here, it can be congenital vertical talus.