Common birth defect of the feet

Talipes is a fairly common issue in newborn babies, affecting 1 in every 1000 births and affecting one or both of the baby’s feet. The cause is unknown and is thought to be due to the position of the baby in the uterus. Positional talipes usually improves with gentle stretches of the foot.


Managing the condition requires careful assessment and monitoring by the child’s doctor or physiotherapist. A baby with positional talipes should also have a hip examination to rule out developmental hip dysplasia as the two conditions may be linked. Researchers suggest 1;17 babies with congenital talipes will also have hip dysplasia.

Gentle exercises to the foot may help flexibility. These foot exercises should be performed regularly, and will be most effective when your baby is relaxed. Foot exercises should never ever feel painful

Turned feet

Talipes means one or both feet are turned and in most cases the front of the foot is turned inwards and downwards (talipes equinovarus). Rarely the foot is turned downwards and outwards (talipes equinovalgus). In the past, talipes used to be known as clubfoot. The current best treatment is by casting and bracing according to the Ponseti method. The standard treatment for talipes has changed greatly in the past 10 years. Moving on from surgical interventions as the favoured approach 10 years ago to boots and braces currently.

Previously, extensive surgery was common in children born with this condition. Following the publication of long term evidence of positive outcomes with more minimally invasive methods, such as the Ponseti technique, has led to a change the approach. Ponseti treatment consists of sequential plasters and prolonged bracing, with minor surgical procedures.

Exercises for positional talipes

Tips and tricks to help with a boots and bar brace (BNB)

Here’s a little boy I went to help with his sleep recently with his hip brace on. He sleeps really well and wears it each night and can roll over in it in his sleep too. He crawls around the house like a dynamo!