Touching Souls International, a nonprofit organization provides free clubfoot surgeries for very needy kids in Nurture General Hospital, Chittagong, Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, there are many kids who are born with clubfoot and without the ability to have the proper treatment. Touching Souls International finance the surgical treatment of these patients.
Clubfoot is a general term used to describe a range of unusual positions of the foot. Each of the following characteristics may be present, and each may vary from mild to severe:
* The foot (especially the heel) is usually smaller than normal.
* The foot may point downward.
* The front of the foot may be rotated toward the other foot.
* The foot may turn in, and in extreme cases, the bottom of the foot can point up.
Most types of clubfoot are present at birth. Clubfoot can happen in one foot or in both feet. In almost half of affected infants, both feet are involved.
Nonsurgical Treatment: Treatment should begin right away to have the best chance for a successful outcome without the need for surgery. A particular method of stretching and casting, known as the Ponseti method, has been responsible for this. With this method, the doctor changes the cast every week for several weeks, always stretching the foot toward the correct position. The heel cord is then released followed by one more cast for three weeks.
Once the foot has been corrected, the infant must wear a brace at night for two years to maintain the correction. This has been extremely effective but requires the parents to actively participate in the daily care by applying the braces. Without the parents’ participation, the clubfoot will almost certainly recur.
Although clubfoot is painless in a baby, treatment should begin immediately. Clubfoot can cause significant problems as the child grows. But with early treatment most children born with clubfoot are able to lead a normal life. In Bangladesh for most kids with clubfoot, the non surgical treatment is not attainable.
Left untreated, however, clubfoot can become a burden. Not only is a child likely to have arthritis, but the unusual appearance of the foot may make body image a concern during the teen years. The twist of the ankle may not allow the child to walk on the soles of the feet. To compensate, he or she may walk on the balls of the feet, the outside of the feet or even the top of the feet in severe cases.
On occasion, stretching, casting and bracing are not enough to correct a child’s clubfoot. Surgery may be needed to adjust the tendons, ligaments and joints in the foot/ankle. Usually done at 9 to12 months of age, surgery corrects all of a child’s clubfoot deformities at the same time. After surgery, a cast holds the clubfoot still while it heals. It’s still possible for the muscles in a child’s foot to try to return to the clubfoot position, and special shoes or braces will likely be used for up to a year or more after surgery. Surgery will likely result in a stiffer foot than nonsurgical treatment, particularly as the years pass by.
Without any treatment, a child’s clubfoot will result in severe functional disability. With surgical treatment, a child with clubfoot should have a nearly normal foot. And Touching Souls International provides this very essential surgical treatment for disadvantaged kids born with clubfoot.