Swara was born with a congenital anomaly called clubfoot, a condition in which one or both of a newborn’s feet are turned inward or upward. This condition occurs in one in every 1000 newborns. Clubfoot occurs because of a shortened Achilles tendon, which causes the foot to turn or bend inwards and under.
Clubfoot can be diagnosed in utero as early as the 20th week of pregnancy. But in Swara’s case, her seven-month pregnancy scan revealed that she had the condition. The doctor advised Swara’s mother to visit the Clubfoot Centre at St. John’s Hospital to find out how effective treatment procedures could prevent permanent disability in her child.
CBM India Trust, in collaboration with CURE India, organises a community-based clubfoot rehabilitation programme in St. John’s Hospital. They work together to provide care, treatment, support, and aid to children born with clubfoot. Children are rehabilitated using the Ponseti Method, which involves a series of stretches, weekly casting, and bracing.
Ten days after Swara was born, the doctors started treating her with simple stretching techniques. The next step included casting and bending techniques by turning Swara’s leg in the desired direction. The procedure was repeated in the following weeks by changing the position of her leg. This process continued for months, depending on the criticality of the condition.
In the last step of the treatment, Swara received foot abduction braces to keep her legs in the desired direction and to prevent a recurrence of the clubfoot condition. Swara received three casts and five braces over a period of two years. Now Swara can walk with no support at all!
To create awareness about clubfoot, CBM India, along with CURE, organises training for counsellors, ASHA and Anganwadi workers, among others, in Urban Bengaluru. Trained grassroots facilitators now know how to differentiate clubfoot from polio. With the help of many volunteers, CBM India treats nearly 60 children with clubfoot every year and aims to continue supporting and caring for every child with clubfoot.