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Medical Specialist Emphasizes Treatability of Clubfoot Deformity, Cautions Against Abandonment

Medical Specialist Emphasizes Treatability of Clubfoot Deformity, Cautions Against Abandonment 

By Adeke Chukwuka

Orthopaedic Surgeon Prof. Oladipo Adewole emphasizes the treatability of clubfoot deformity, urging parents not to abandon affected children in villages or prayer mountains.

Head of the Orthopaedic and Trauma Department at LASUTH, Adewole, shared this information in a Friday interview with NAN. Clubfoot is a congenital deformity impacting a child’s bones, muscles, tendons, and blood vessels.

Clubfoot, a condition where a baby’s foot or feet turn inward, requires early treatment for improved health outcomes. The Cleveland Clinic reports a prevalence of one in every 1,000 births, making it a common congenital foot deformity.

Over 80% of cases globally are in low-income countries with limited access to effective treatment, and Nigeria sees 9,800 new cases annually. Previously considered untreatable, clubfoot could lead to pain, walking difficulties, lifelong disability, stigma, and restricted access to education and economic opportunities, according to Adewole.

Advancements in medical techniques allow for non-surgical treatment of clubfoot, involving manipulation, stretching, casting, and bracing, according to Prof. Oladipo Adewole.

He stated that LASUTH has a specialized clubfoot clinic, supported by sponsors, where patients receive treatment without financial burden. Adewole emphasizes the importance of early intervention, highlighting that the clinic operates without charges to ensure accessibility for all.

Clubfoot’s exact cause remains unknown, but research links it to genetic and environmental factors, including family history, smoking, and specific medications during pregnancy, says Prof. Oladipo Adewole, Chairman of West Africa Orthopaedic Surgeons. 

He urges the government to raise awareness about this treatable condition to alleviate the burden of clubfoot deformity in the country.

Adewole reveals that trauma, particularly from road accidents, tops the list of orthopaedic cases in hospitals, followed by domestic accidents and age-related diseases like arthritis, necessitating joint and spine surgeries.

Regular check-ups aid in the early detection of musculoskeletal conditions, advises Prof. Oladipo Adewole. He encourages the aging population to adopt an active lifestyle, maintain healthy diets, and control weight to prevent issues like arthritis and back pain.

Adewole highlights the importance of early intervention through the Limb Deformity Corrective Surgery Programme (LDCSP), initiated in Lagos in 2004, to address lower limb deformities in children for improved growth and function.

The program aims to address correctable cases identified through a public health approach, especially those involving children begging for alms on roadsides.

Prof. Oladipo Adewole highlighted the correction of over 2,000 limb deformities in Lagos, emphasizing routine hip and joint replacements at ₦1.5 million, considered the country’s most affordable.

He urged the government to enhance health insurance funding and extend coverage to encompass knee replacements, as the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) focuses on preventive diseases. Adewole cautioned against traditional bone healers, noting their potential to worsen patients’ health issues.

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