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The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot

The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot

by Betsy Miller
The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot

The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot

by Betsy Miller


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About one in every thousand babies born each year has clubfoot, a disorder that affects foot and calf muscles. Because treatment usually begins soon after birth and continues for several years, parents play a key role in the treatment of clubfoot and need to be able to communicate effectively with their child's doctor. The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot is the only book about clubfoot that is written for parents so they can learn everything they need to know about their child's condition. It is an all-in-one resource with medical information, advice from parents, comments from clubfoot experts, and even an illustrated story for preschoolers that parents can read aloud to their children.

Written in everyday language, the book covers clubfoot in babies and older children from diagnosis through treatment for mild to severe cases. It provides details on clubfoot, its causes, treatment and care, along with an extensive list of resources and clubfoot assessment aids. In keeping with currently preferred treatments in the U.S., it emphasizes the Ponseti method, which minimizes surgery, and includes perspectives from Ponseti-trained clubfoot doctors and parents of children with clubfoot. However, separate chapters discuss all pre-treatment and post-treatment care options and one chapter covers surgery and post-surgery care if it becomes necessary.

Parents often have a hard time coping with the diagnosis of clubfoot in their newborn children, and this book reassures them that the condition is treatable. If treated correctly, the child’s foot will look normal, and he or she will be fully able to walk, run, and play. Several world-class athletes, including Kristi Yamaguchi, Troy Aikman and Freddy Sanchez, were born with clubfoot. The book includes advice from children with clubfoot that highlights the positive effects of having clubfoot as a child, like getting presents after surgery, and shows active pictures of them after their treatment.

As mentioned, the Ponseti method of treatment - once disregarded as quackery - is the most common method of clubfoot treatment in the United States. It involves a series of casts and braces that slowly reposition the foot. To prevent a relapse, these braces need to be worn until the age of four or five. The book provides instruction, advice and tips for caring for a child in a cast, putting on the different braces required for the Ponseti method, and solving common problems like bruising. It also includes a useful list of signs that a child's foot is relapsing.

The three most important aspects of the book are:
1. It reassures parents that clubfoot is treatable and that, with the right treatment, their child’s foot will look normal and he or she will be able to walk, run, and play.
2. It is important to find a doctor skilled in treating clubfoot with a nonsurgical approach. This is called the Ponseti method after the late Dr. Ponseti, who developed it.
3. Once a child's foot is corrected, following through with brace wear as directed until the age of four or five is the best way to prevent a relapse in which the foot needs to be corrected again.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780897936149
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Series: The Parents' Guide
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Betsy Miller is the author of The Parents' Guide to Hip Dysplasia and a member of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute Advisory Board. She wrote The Parents' Guide to Clubfoot to provide support and information to families of children with clubfoot. Miller lives in Cupertino, California, with her husband and their two daughters, where she writes for high-tech companies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Understanding Clubfoot 1

Types of Clubfoot 4

Untreated Clubfoot 4

Why Clubfoot Occurs 5

Physical Exam for Clubfoot 6

Coping with Your Child's Diagnosis 7

2 Preparing for Treatment 10

The Penseti Method 11

Finding a Clubfoot Specialist 12

Coping with Treatment 16

Communicating with Doctors 17

How Doctors Talk about Clubfoot 18

If Clubfoot Is Only Part of the Picture 21

Health-care Workers: Who Does What? 24

Health Insurance and Financial Assistance 26

Family and Medical Leave Act 29

3 Correcting Your Child's Foot 30

Serial Casting 31

Your Baby's First Treatment and Cast 33

Ongoing Treatments and Cast Changes 36

Lengthening the Achilles Tendon (Percutaneous Achilles Tenotomy) 37

Your Child's Corrected Foot 41

Relapses 41

Correcting a Relapsed Clubfoot 42

Beginning Clubfoot Treatment with an Older Child 44

Adopting a Child with Untreated Clubfoot 45

Older Children During Treatment 49

4 Your Child's Casts at Home 51

Cast Care Instructions 51

Caring for Your Baby in a Cast 53

Older Children in Casts 54

Clothing Tips 54

Crawling, Standing, or Walking in a Cast 56

Comforting a Fussy Child 56

Pain Management at Home 56

Sleeping 58

Your Feelings 58

How Other People React to Your Child 59

Temporary Disabled Parking Placards 59

Child Care 59

Brothers and Sisters 60

5 Wearing a Clubfoot Brace 64

Brace-wear Schedule 66

Different Types of Braces 67

Bars 68

Shoes and AFOs 69

Combining Bars and Shoes or AFOs 72

Ordering Your Child's First Brace 73

Fitting the Brace 73

Getting Used to a Brace after Wearing Casts 75

Putting the Brace on Your Child 78

Your Child's Skin 79

Wearing Shoes When the Brace Is Off 82

Helping Your Child Sleep with a Brace 82

Outgrowing a Brace 84

Solving Problems with the Brace 86

When Your Child Is Done with the Brace 88

6 Playing, Stretching, and physical Therapy 90

Play That Helps Your Child's Feet 90

Stretching 91

Method 1 Begin Stretches near the End of Brace Wear 92

Method 2 Stretch the Child's Feet Throughout Brace Wear 93

Throughout Brace Wear 93

Seeing a Physical Therapist 95

Infant Massage (Not Part of Treatment) 96

What Is French Physical Therapy? 97

7 Surgery 98

Preparing for Surgery in a Hospital 98

What to Bring to the Hospital 99

Anesthesia 101

Balancing the Ligaments in the Foot with ATTT 102

Z-Lenghtening Achilles Tenotomy 105

Additional Surgeries 106

Recovery from Surgery 107

Eating after General Anesthesia 108

Pain Management after Surgery 108

Surgical Procedures Not Associated with the Poneseti Method 109

Surgery for Adults with Arthritis Due to Clubfoot 110

8 Children Going Forward 112

What Kids Have to Say about Clubfoot 114

Straight, Strong, and Stretchy: A Children's Clubfoot Story 116

Appendix Clubfoot Assessment 122

Glossary 126

Bibliography 130

Resources 135

Index 144

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