9 Birth Defects and Their Symptoms and Treatments

Clubfoot

An Anatomical Abnormality

Prevalence: Clubfoot occurs in approximately 1 in 400 newborns -- affecting boys about twice as often as girls -- and includes several kinds of ankle and foot deformities. The exact cause of clubfoot isn't clear, but it's probably a combination of heredity and environmental factors that affect fetal growth.

Symptoms: Clubfoot can be mild or severe and can affect one or both feet. Mild clubfoot is not painful and won't bother the baby until he begins to stand or talk.

Treatment: For a mild case, treatment starts immediately after diagnosis and involves gently forcing the foot into the correct position and helping the child do special exercises.

Often, however, the baby needs more drastic treatment, such as plaster casts, bandaging with splints followed by time in special shoes, or surgery followed by exercises. The process may take three to six months, which checkups for several years after.

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