Best 5 Exercises for Talipes
Talipes, or sometimes known as club foot, is a congenital condition affecting babies and infants. It affects the development of the foot and ankle. In talipes, the foot is turned inward and downward. This makes it difficult to walk or place the foot on the ground. Sometimes the condition affects one side, but often can affect both sides. The prevalence is not too high, but we do see it – typically affecting around 1 in 1000 babies. The cause is not known, but some therapists believe that a certain degree of rotation of the foot is fairly normal and just part of normal development. Like anything though, it depends on the severity and more severe cases require intervention and management.
In moderate/severe cases, talipes is treated with a series of casts and braces that gradually move the foot into the proper position. Occasionally surgery may be required. The majority of children with talipes are able to walk normally and engage in physical activities without difficulty after receiving the appropriate treatment. Nonetheless, ongoing treatment may be required to preserve proper foot alignment and prevent future complications. Physiotherapists and osteopaths are also very good at supporting babies and young ones with Talipes.
Physiotherapy and osteopathy can be helpful in the treatment of talipes. It can help improve the range of movement and flexibility of the affected foot, and we can also help strengthen the muscles that support the ankle and foot. We’ll also provide advice and exercises for parents to do at home to help improve the baby's foot and ankle alignment. Physiotherapy can also be helpful after surgical intervention for talipes, to help with the recovery process and to prevent future complications.
At Surrey Physio, we have some really good osteopaths who can see your baby regarding developmental milestones, including Kay Allardyce and Niamh Wright (featured in our videos with her baby), both based at our Selsdon clinic at CR2 8DD. To book an appt with them, call us on 0208 651 3315.
Let’s look at five exercises that we recommend parents do if they are worried about talipes. Of course, always seek advice first from a paediatric expert or suitably experienced therapist such as Niamh or Kay.
Lie your baby on their back on a soft flat surface. Bend your baby's knee and place one thumb under the base of the big toe and hold the heel between your other thumb and forefinger. Apply gentle pressure to stretch or straighten the curve of the instep of the foot. Hold this for 15 seconds, and repeat three times.
Transverse Foot Massage
Lie your baby on their back on a soft flat surface. Hold the front of their foot between your thumb and index finger and gently pull foot in and down. Massage over the deep creases on the front of the ankle. Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Ankle Mobilisation Plantar to Dorsiflexion
Lie your baby on their back and give them a toy to play with if you wish. Support their leg with one hand, and hold the front of their foot between your thumb and index finger. Gently pull their foot downwards so their toes will now be pointing away, and bend the ankle upwards so their toes are pointing towards them. Repeat the movement ten times. Don't push the movement too firmly, just take it gently.
Ankle Mobilisation Eversion
Lie your baby on their back and give them a toy to play with if you wish. Place one hand under their flexed knee, and hold the front of their foot between your thumb and index finger and gently pull foot outward and up. Don't push the movement too firmly, just take it gently. Repeat ten times.
Ankle and Leg Stroke
Lie your baby on their back and gently stroke or tickle the outside of their ankle up and along the outside of their leg. This will stimulate their foot turning out. Repeat 10 strokes.
Developing talipes or club foot can cause issues with important developmental milestones. If you need advice or support, please call us on 0208 651 3315 and see Niamh or Kay.
(For any therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com)