Clubfoot in children

Clubfoot is a condition that causes one or both feet to twist in and down at birth. It causes no pain until a child starts standing or walking, and then it can be nearly impossible to walk normally. Our pediatric orthopedic team is specially trained in the best treatment approaches, including the Ponseti method. We utilize highly successful treatments for clubfoot that ensure most children grow up to have no limitations and lead busy and active lives.

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Treatment Options

Because newborn joints, ligaments and tendons are very flexible, treatments for clubfoot are recommended to start 2-4 weeks after birth. The Ponseti Method is the gold standard nonsurgical approach to treating clubfeet. We have 1 of 3 practicing providers in the state of Michigan that is recognized as a preferred provider by The Ponseti International Association.

Follow-up care is key for success. Special braces and stretching exercises continue for several years to make sure the clubfoot does not return as your child grows. The risk of needing surgery for further correction before age 6 is significantly higher in children who do not wear their braces. We continue to monitor kids throughout childhood and adolescence to watch for signs that the clubfoot could be recurring. Caring for a child with clubfoot is a team effort and parents are one of the most important parts of the team.

Ponseti Method

Considered the gold standard for clubfoot treatment, this method uses manipulation, a series of casts and often a small procedure to lengthen the Achilles tendon over the course of 2-3 months to correct the clubfoot.

Maintenance & Follow-Up

Treatment to correct a clubfoot includes several years of parental involvement and continued care. Stretching and braces are used at home to keep the clubfoot from returning to its abnormal position before treatment.


Surgery is sometimes necessary to lengthen tendons so the foot has full motion. A portion of children treated successfully with the Ponseti method will need one of their tendons moved from the inside of their foot to the outside to help them walk better. This usually occurs between ages 4 and 6. In some situations, more complex surgery may be required to correct clubfeet, especially if the clubfeet are associated with other conditions.