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Children's Orthopaedics

The treatment of congenital club foot by operation to correct deformity and achieve dynamic muscle balance

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We operated on 111 patients with 159 congenital club feet with the aim of correcting the deformity and achieving dynamic muscle balance. Clinical and biomechanical assessment was undertaken at least six years after operation when the patient was more than 13 years of age. The mean follow-up was for 11 years 10 months (6 to 36 years).

Good and excellent results were obtained in 91.8%. Patients with normal function of the calf had a better outcome than those with weak calf muscles. The radiological changes were assessed in relation to the clinical outcome. The distribution of pressure under the foot was measured for biomechanical assessment.

Our results support the view that muscle imbalance is an aetiological factor in club foot. Early surgery seems to be preferable. It is suggested that operation should be undertaken as soon as possible after the age of six months, although it may be carried out up to the age of five years. The establishment of dynamic muscle balance appears to be an effective method of maintaining correction. Satisfactory long-term results can be achieved with adequate appearance and function.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr L. Zhao.

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