Treating Club Foot: The Mitchells Method
What is Club Foot?
Club foot is a birth defect that causes the feet to be positioned abnormally, with the soles facing inward and downward. It can cause difficulty with walking and mobility and can lead to pain and discomfort. Treatment, which may involve casting, bracing, physical therapy, and in severe cases surgery, is aimed at correcting the foot's position and helping the patient lead a full and active life.
How is Club Foot Treated?
The Mitchells method is a type of treatment for club foot that involves the use of serial casting and bracing to gradually reposition the foot into a more normal alignment.
Treatment for club foot usually starts soon after birth, typically within the first few weeks, while the bones and tissues in the feet are still soft and pliable. Early treatment increases the chances of success and reduces the risk of complications.
1. Achilles Surgery
If the child has a tight Achilles tendon, surgery may be necessary before casting. Surgery involves making a small incision in the tendon to relieve the tension and allow the foot to be positioned more easily.
2. Serial casting
The affected foot is placed in a series of plaster casts that are changed every one to two weeks. The casts gradually reposition the foot into a more normal alignment.
After the serial casting, the child is fitted with a brace to maintain the correction achieved through the casting and help strengthen the muscles and tendons in the foot.
4. Physical therapy
Physical therapy may be recommended to help improve strength and coordination in the affected foot.
As the child grows, adjustments to the brace may be needed to ensure it continues to provide proper support.
6. Gradual transition
The child will eventually transition to wearing the brace only during the night and eventually not at all.
What is the Mitchells Brace?
The Mitchell Club Foot Brace is typically made of lightweight, durable materials such as plastic or fiberglass. The materials used in the brace are selected to provide a balance between support and comfort, allowing the wearer to wear the brace for extended periods of time.
The rotation bar is a key component of the Mitchell Club Foot Brace. It is a metal bar that is attached to the brace and runs along the bottom of the foot. The rotation bar helps to maintain the proper position of the foot and helps to prevent the foot from rotating inward.
The specific design and components of the brace may vary depending on the patient's individual needs. Your orthotist will be able to provide more information and guidance on the most appropriate type of brace for your child's specific condition.
It is important to note that the treatment plan should be developed in collaboration with a pediatrician and an orthotist to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.