Ultrasounds can be used to diagnose Club Foot, a foot deformity that affects the shape and flexibility of the feet in infants. In the UK, this condition may qualify as a disability and individuals may require special care and treatment in order to manage it. Learn more about diagnosing, managing and treatments for this condition.
What is Club Foot?
Club Foot is a rare congenital deformity of the feet, characterized by a curved foot and limited flexibility. One or both feet may be affected, though most cases affect both feet. In some cases, this condition can be corrected with special bracing or exercises, and it usually does not require surgery. In the UK, qualifying individuals are eligible for disability benefit through the Access To Work program.
How Does Club Foot Show Up on Ultrasound Imaging?
Club Foot can be diagnosed with a fetal ultrasound scan, usually after 18 weeks of pregnancy. On this imaging, the foot may look curved outward in a "dystrophic" pattern. This deformity is more likely to occur in multiple pregnancy pregnancies, such as twins and triplets, because of the limited space overtime for optimal fetal development. Ultrasound can help confirm a diagnosis before birth, so that treatment can be started early and physical disability avoided if possible.
What Are the Symptoms of Club Foot and How Can it be Diagnosed?
Some possible signs and symptoms of Club Foot include feet that curve outward, an inability to move the foot correctly and an unusual shape or size of the heel or toes. If a fetus is suspected of having Club Foot it can usually be diagnosed on ultrasound imaging, as previously mentioned. It’s also possible for medical professionals to detect this disorder during physical examinations after birth. Sometimes treatment isn't needed for all club feet, but a doctor should be consulted if it occurs in order to evaluate if any interventions are necessary to avoid disabilities or further complications.
What are the Treatments for Club Foot?
Treatment for Club Foot will depend on its severity, but typically includes a combination of stretching and casting techniques in order to gradually shift the foot into a proper position. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the feet or tendons. After the initial treatment, periodic exercise and corrective shoe wear may be recommended to maintain the corrected position. It’s important to note that timely intervention is key in order to prevent any disability or physical impairments from developing due to Club Foot.
Is Club Foot a Disability in the UK?
Club Foot on ultrasound is the most common physical birth defect present at birth. The severity of this condition can vary greatly and sometimes there may be no discernable symptoms at all, while in other cases, the baby’s feet may be severely twisted or deformed. In the UK, Club Foot is not considered an automatically qualifying disability, but it can result in impairments which may allow for a person to receive Supplemental Benefits under certain conditions. For example, if the condition affects mobility or causes pain or other physical impairments that limit daily activities then benefits may be available.