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Club feet – thanks to medical science clubfeet is not a curse!

Martie Coetser is a freelance writer from South Africa. She has a keen interest in a variety of topics.

Wikipedia: Congenital talipes equinovarus - Clubfeet (bilateral = both feet)

Wikipedia: Congenital talipes equinovarus - Clubfeet (bilateral = both feet)

The fact that I was born with clubfeet never affected me in any way. Thanks to medical science my feet were straightened while I was a baby. I grew up with only the knowledge that crawling on my knees or walking on my ankles would have been my lot in life if I was born in a previous century.

But let me be honest – to say it never affected me in any way is a lie. Of course it did. It kept me humble and grateful and able to appreciate many things I would have taken for granted if I was born with normal feet.

I undertook to write about my own case after Judicastro mentioned that a friend of her is expecting a baby and the doctor suspects he will be born with clubfeet. One of my fears was that my children will be born with it, and my first question after they were born was in fact: "Are the feet normal?" God knows why I was so worried about this, because it is one of many deformities that can be expeditiously corrected.

Before I tell my story, just a brief summery of the congenital deformity called clubfeet, clubfoot, club feet, club foot.

The medical term for clubfeet is ‘Congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV). ‘Talipes equinovarus’ is a Latin word. Talus = ankle, pes = foot, equino = of/like a horse, varus – turned inward. A baby could be born with unilateral (one) clubbed foot, or bilateral (both feet). Two groups of CTEV has been identified - Postural TEV or Structural TEV, which compels persons to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

In Western countries one in every one-thousand babies is born with one or two clubbed feet. In South African blacks it occurs three times as frequently and six times as frequently in Polynesians. In all cases approximately fifty percent are males.

Clubfeet is not an embryonic malformation, but a developmental deformation. The foot, or both feet, turns into clubfeet during the second trimester of pregnancy.


Dr Ponseti (left), Dr Wang (right)

Dr Ponseti (left), Dr Wang (right)