Talipes / Clubfoot


Understanding Talipes/Clubfoot

The medical definition of the condition commonly referred to as Talipes or clubfoot is Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTEV). Although sounding complicated, when broken up, it becomes easier to understand.

  • Congenital – Present at birth
  • Talipes – the foot and ankle
  • Equino – foot pointing down
  • Varusy – heel turning inwards

The term CTEV is rarely used, it is usually diagnosed as ‘talipes’ but is also commonly referred to as Clubfoot.

It may affect one foot (unilateral) or both feet (bilateral). Often the calf muscle is less developed on the affected side.

Clubfoot can occur when the muscles on the outer side of the leg are weaker than those on the inside of the leg. The tendons on the inside of the leg also become shorter than normal. Tendons are the tough cords that connect muscles to bones. In clubfoot, the bones of the foot are abnormally shaped and the Achilles tendon (the large tendon at the back of the heel) is tight.

In most cases the cause of club foot is unknown, but it occasionally runs in the family. If you have had a child with club foot, you are 20 times more likely to have another child with the condition. Clubfoot affects one baby in every 1000 born in the UK and is twice as common in boys than girls. In around 50% of the cases both feet are affected.

In a very small number of cases clubfoot may be associated with other conditions, so your doctor will examine your baby thoroughly, not simply the feet.

View our interactive video below to answer any questions you may have…