T: What Is Talipes?

09/04/2010 15:43 | Updated 22 May 2015

Talipes is a condition where one or both feet are twisted and out of position. One in 1000 babies is born with talipes, and it is significantly more common in boys than girls.

The condition has two forms, comprising talipes equinovarus (known as club foot) and talipes calcaneovalgus. The forms are then split into two categories - structural and positional.

The positional form occurs when the foot is compressed by the baby's position inside the womb. This is a much less complex issue than structural talipes, which is caused by a number of biological issues including genetic predisposition. This results in an incorrect structure of the foot.

In talipes calcaneovalgus, the foot is turned outwards with the toes pointing upwards. This form of talipes is usually positional and requires little treatment, which normally involves manipulating the foot back into position. This usually resolves the condition and deformity is unlikely.

In talipes equinovarus - or club foot - the heel and foot will turn inwards and the toes will point upwards. As with equinovarus, if it is positional, the foot can usually be exercised back into position.

However, if the cause is structural, the structure of the foot will be abnormally short and the calf muscles unusually thin. Correction of this condition is far more complex than positional talipes and will requires immediate treatment, which can last for several months.

This can include manipulation of the foot; strapping and casting with a splint to hold a better position; and, if these treatments are ineffective, an operation to straighten the foot.

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