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Glossary of Clubfoot Terms

Abduction: Movement of a limb away from the midline (middle) of the body.

Achilles Tendon: The tendon that joins the bone of the heel to the calf muscle.

Adhesion: Abnormal union of bodily tissues restricting movement.

Anterior: At, or towards the front.

Bilateral clubfoot (BCF): Both feet are affected.

Calcaneus: Heel bone.

Clubfoot (also known as talipes equinovarus): When clubfoot occurs the foot is twisted inward and down, and this condition occurs during development in the womb. Physicians have observed that fetuses that develop clubfoot start with a normal foot and then the foot begins to turn inward around the third month. Most children born with clubfoot are not missing any bones, muscles, or connective tissue. It is a congenital condition, meaning that when it occurs it is always present at birth. It is one of the most common congenital deformities. One or both feet may be affected and the affected feet can range from relatively flexible to stiff and rigid. The condition is not painful for the new born, though when a child gets to walking age, walking with an uncorrected clubfoot can be very painful and difficult, if not impossible.

Congenital: A condition that is present at birth.

Deformity: A condition where some part of the body is drastically different from normal in terms of size, or shape.

Dorsal: Top of foot.

Dorsiflexion: When referring the ankle, dorsiflexion is the ability to bend at the ankle, and move the foot upward.

Eversion: Turning the sole of the foot outward.

Foot Abduction Brace (FAB): A Foot Abduction Brace (also commonly mis-labeled a Denis Brown Bar or DBB) consists of an adjustable length aluminum bar with adjustable footplates onto which shoes attach. It is recommended that an adjustable bar is used instead of a fixed length bar because the child will quickly outgrow the fixed length bar. The orientation of the footplates to the bar is set by the orthotist as recommended by your doctor.

Idiopathic: Of unknown cause.

In Utero: When the baby is in the womb.

Inversion: Turning the sole of the foot inward.

LCF (left clubbed foot): The left foot is affected with clubfoot.

Ligament: Connective tissue binding bone to bone.

Maceration: Skin softened by soaking. Maceration can occur if a child’s skin becomes wet under the cast. The skin breaks down and this process is painful.

Manipulation: Manually stretching the foot into an over-corrected position.

Orthopaedics: A medical discipline concerned with correction of skeletal deformities.

Orthosis: Brace or splint used for support.

Osteotomy: Surgical operation that cuts through the bone.

Plantigrade: Walking flat on the sole of the foot.

Plantar Surface: Sole of foot.

RCF (right clubbed foot): The right foot if affected with clubfoot.

Relapse: When the foot returns to being a clubfoot after being corrected.

Tenotomy: Surgical procedure that slices the tendon to lengthen the muscle.

Tibia: Shin bone.

Unilateral clubfoot: Only one foot is affected by with clubfoot.

Valgus: Directed away from the midline of the body.

Varus: Directed towards the midline of the body.