Club foot is the name for a range of birth defects involving the foot which are present at birth and affect the foot’s shape and position. The term “club foot” refers to the way the foot is positioned at a sharp angle to the ankle, similar to the head of a golf club. Although the cause of most cases of club foot is unknown, the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs, including some antidepressant medications, in pregnancy may significantly increase a child’s risk of suffering from this debilitating birth defect. It is the duty of healthcare professionals to adequately inform their patients about the potential dangers of the medications they prescribe, especially when taken during pregnancy. If your child was born with club foot, and you believe a medical error to be the cause, contact an experienced birth defect attorney to discuss your legal options, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.
The most common effect of club foot is that the malformation twists the top of the baby’s foot downward and inward, increasing the arch and rotating the heel inward. In some cases, the foot may be turned so severely that it actually appears as if it is upside-down. The affected foot in babies born with club foot may be up to one centimeter shorter than normal, and the calf muscles in children with club foot may also be underdeveloped. Club foot affects about one in every 1,000 newborns in the United States each year, and is more common in males. Club foot can affect one or both feet, and in 30% to 50% of cases, club foot affects both feet.
Although club foot is a virtually painless condition at birth, the malformation will begin to cause problems once the child begins to stand and walk. The affected child’s mobility may be limited as a result of the birth defect, and the affected foot may be up to 1½ shoe sizes smaller than the other foot. Treatment for club foot typically begins soon after birth, when the newborn’s bones and joints are very flexible, and may include stretching and casting, stretching and taping, or surgery. The main goal of club foot treatment is to restore the appearance and function of the foot before the child learns to walk, in an effort to prevent long-term disability.
If left untreated, club foot can become an extremely incapacitating condition later in life, sometimes resulting in arthritis and the child’s tendency to walk on the balls of the feet, the outside of the feet, or even the tops of the feet in severe cases. This overcompensation can result in an awkward gait, restricted calf muscle growth and the development of large sores or callouses on the feet. Even with treatment, some instances of club foot may not be completely reversible, although most children grow up to lead normal, active lives.
Club foot is a serious birth defect which can severely alter an affected child’s quality of life. If you or a loved one has suffered from club foot, which you believe to have been caused by a medical mistake, consult a qualified birth defect attorney to explore your compensation options. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, Ob/Gyn or doctor responsible for your care, in order to seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. No child deserves to struggle with the significant complications the accompany birth defects like club foot. By hiring a skilled birth defect lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and prevent alleged negligence on the part of healthcare professionals from causing similar injuries in the future.