Information - Treatment Options - Surgical




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Treatment Options

Surgical Treatment

One of the most common operative procedures is a 'soft tissue release', carried out to correct the short tendons and ligaments which pull the foot out of position. It involves lengthening the Achilles tendon, as well as any other involved ligaments.

The usual routine is to then plaster the foot for 2 weeks, but only in a semi-corrected position. This allows the wound to heal, without putting stress on the stitches. After 2 weeks the stitches are removed, and the foot is once again put in plaster - this time in a fully corrected position.

This plaster is usually kept on for around 6 weeks, after which time the foot is reviewed. If the foot is not fully corrected, the plaster may be reapplied, or a splint may be used.

The timing of the surgery will vary, according to your surgeon. Some will operate on very young babies, but most surgeons feel that this is not very effective, and that there is also a risk of 'over-correcting'.

The majority seem to like to operate at around 9 months, with the belief that when the casts come off the child should be ready to start walking on the foot, and this can help maintain the correction. However, there are some surgeons that feel that surgery should be carried out as late as possible.

The Surgery Debate

Since the Ponseti Method has gained popularity, many question the need for surgery at all. However, the number of doctors practicing here in the UK is still low. Although many are willing to travel for treatment, for some it is too difficult. In addition, it has to followed exactly, and is a long term treatment.

There are concerns amongst parents that surgical treatment may cause further problems. My experience with Bethany, however, has been positive so far.

There are now many sites available with details and personal experiences. My advice would be to research these, and to discuss with your doctor. Support is available no matter which form of treatment you decide on, and it can be a help.. so use it! :-)

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