Talipes is a fixed abnormal ankle position that presents at birth. It is also known as clubfoot. It can occur spontaneously or be associated with other syndromes. It is usually identified at birth or during the newborn examination.
Talipes equinovarus describes the ankle in plantar flexion and supination.
Talipes calcaneovalgus describes the ankle in dorsiflexion and pronation.
Talipes is treated with the “Ponseti method” with good results. Surgery may be required if the Ponseti method fails or cannot be used.
The Ponseti method is a way of treating talipes without surgery. It is usually very successful. Treatment is started almost immediately after birth. It is performed by a properly trained therapist.
The foot is manipulated towards a normal position and a cast is applied to hold it in position. This is repeated over and over until the foot is in the correct position. At some point an achilles tenotomy to release tension in the achilles tendon is performed, often in clinic.
After treatment with the cast is finished a brace is used to hold the feet in the correct position when not walking until the child is around 4 years old. This brace is sometimes referred to as “boots and bars”.
Positional talipes is a common condition where the resting position of the ankle is in plantar flexion and supination, however it is not fixed in this position and there is no structural boney issue in the ankle.
The muscles are slightly tight around the ankle but the bones are unaffected. The foot can still be moved into the normal position. This requires referral to a physiotherapist for some simple exercises to help the foot return to a normal position. Positional talipes will resolve with time.
Last updated January 2020