Physical Impairments at Birth


According to the March of Dimes, clubfoot -- a foot and ankle disorder in which the foot turns inward and downward -- is one of the most common birth defects. Clubfoot ranges from mild to severe and can affect one or both feet. One baby in about 735 born in the U.S. each year suffers from severe clubfoot. Boys are twice a likely to be affected as girls. Children with clubfoot aren't in pain and aren't usually bothered by the condition until they begin to walk.

Diagnosis: Clubfoot is usually recognizable during a newborn's examinations. A pediatrician may order an x-ray of the foot to determine if a baby does in fact have a clubfoot.

Treatment: Once clubfoot is diagnosed, treatment begins immediately. Typically, a specialist (often an orthopedic surgeon) manipulates the foot into the correct position and then puts it in a cast to maintain that position. The foot is repositioned and reset in a cast every few weeks until it is in the correct position. If this procedure isn't sufficient, surgery may be required.

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