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Clubfoot is a foot deformity leading to a stiff, abnormal position of the foot. It can sometimes be detected on ultrasound during pregnancy and is immediately noticeable at birth. Duke pediatric orthopaedic surgeons treat clubfoot using nonsurgical methods, such as casting, during the first weeks after birth. Our high success rate treating clubfoot ensures your child’s feet are functional and free of pain. 

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If Your Child Is Born with Clubfoot

A clubfoot deformity refers to a foot that points down with the soles often facing each other. About 50% of cases involve both feet, and the other 50% affect only one foot. Clubfoot deformity involves the bones, cartilage, and muscles of the foot and may occur in conjunction with other pediatric orthopaedic concerns. Our pediatric orthopedic team performs a head-to-toe physical exam on all children with clubfoot. 

Referral to a Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon
After diagnosis, your child will be referred to a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, who has undergone special training and is skilled in treating musculoskeletal disorders, including clubfoot, in children. Our pediatric surgeons work with a team of nurses, physical therapists, and casting technicians who are specially trained in these conditions and are up to date on the latest developments. Families travel to Duke from across the state to receive this specialized care for their children. 

Our Locations

Duke Health offers pediatric orthopaedic clinics throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Clubfoot Treatments

Ponseti Method

This nonsurgical approach typically begins four to six weeks after birth and lasts for about six weeks. It involves weekly stretching of the foot followed by the application of a plaster cast to gently correct the abnormality. Often a minor procedure to release the tight Achilles tendon is performed at the end of the casting period. Once your child’s foot is realigned, you will be taught how to perform regular stretching exercises with your baby. Special shoes and braces worn full time are also required for up to three years.


In most cases, clubfoot can be successfully treated without surgery, and if your child has a recurrence as they grow, it is often addressed with a series of casts. However, if your child’s bones aren’t correcting as they should or if their clubfoot deformity is severe or associated with another condition, surgery may be recommended. After surgery, casts and braces will help the foot maintain its position as your child develops, and our team will monitor their progress over time.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

This page was medically reviewed on 08/16/2023 by