Clubfoot (or talipes equinovarus) is a congenital birth defect that causes the one or both feet to turn inward and upward. The exact causes are unknown, but research indicates genetic factors may play a role. Clubfoot results from abnormal development of the muscles, tendons and bones of the fetus. Shortened tendons and ligaments on the inside of the lower leg lead to the foot turning inward. A tight Achilles tendon contributes to the rigidity of the foot. It occurs in both feet about 50% of the time.
One of the most common birth defects, clubfoot occurs in approximately 1 out of 800 births, and has been documented for thousands of years, with some variation across countries and ethnic groups and an increased incidence in children born to a parent with clubfoot. It occurs more often in boys than girls. There are about 175,000 new cases of clubfoot each year around the world. In developed countries, clubfoot is often diagnosed via ultrasound and treated shortly after birth using the Ponseti Method. Children born with clubfoot in these countries typically go on to live a healthy, active life. Unfortunately, 90% of children born with clubfoot in low or middle income countries have limited access to proper treatment.