• Hi Rachel,

    Welcome! I apologize for my tardy response.

    I have limited experience in this area. But I can think of a few ladies that do. Hopefully they will be along shortly to share their experiences.

    I see you chose Club Feet for your post category. Have you heard of the French Functional Method? I know that Scottish Rite in Texas is still practicing it.

    I had previously concluded that all the stretching/stimulation methods only produced temporary results, but I have started to question that conclusion.

    I will be interested to hear some of the others weigh in on this as I have seen them discussing their successes elsewhere. I will message them and see if they can come join the conversation.

    Til then,

  • Hi Rachel,
    My son is just over 4 months old, so I don’t have a ton of experience or long term knowledge, however we have been stretching, massaging and using kinesio tape on his feet since birth. His feet were not clubbed but he does have a congenital foot deformity called vertical talus. His feet overall were very tight at birth and nearly flat against his shins. We have been able to obtain a neutral position in his feet as well as dramatically improved the range of motion in his ankles and toes. As far as I can tell the results are permanent but likely will require life long exercises and massage to maintain. He will still undergo surgery/casts for his foot deformity, but all doctors are in agreement that the progress we’ve made so far will improve the results.
    We do these stretches throughout the day and at least at every diaper change. No specific technique, just stretching the tight tendons to the point of resistance and holding for 10 seconds, then moving through complete range of motion 10 times. Takes us a few minutes to make the rounds on each foot. Physical therapist showed us how to use the kinesio tape, we typically do it on for 24 hours then off for 24 hours. Not sure if this is at all helpful! 😉

  • My daughter has struggled with pretty severely clubbed feet. When she was young, we used the SR French method Tina mentioned above and it was effective (alongside of wrapping and soft casting). Overtime, her feet regressed and SR only does this method with kids who are under a certain age. As her feet tightened, I tried and tried to massage with very little outcome and in the end decided to do surgery. We are a couple years out from surgery and I massage to maintain what we gained with the surgery. I can tell a definite difference from when I massage and when I don’t but I think, in our case, prior to surgery it just wasn’t enough. However, I do think it will help postpone or make unnecessary surgery in the future. I usually have her eat breakfast standing with her braces off to get a good stretch and then massage for about 15 minutes prior to putting her braces on for the day. When we were doing the french method, we massaged 3 times a day. I’m happy to share the specific massages we use.

  • Very tardy reply here!! We did a ton of massage, range of motion exercises, and stretching when my daughter was a baby and still continue them with some regularity now. She does not have clubbed feet, but did have very pronounced dorsiflexion (tops of feet rested on shins, much like Karla described). We would do stretching and massage while we sat and read books, while I nursed her, a ton while she was in any kind of baby carrier (convenient that the baby’s feet are located close to your hands in either inward or outward facing carriers), at diaper changes, after bath time, I would hold her feet in a toe pointing position between my knees for about 5-10 minutes when she slept next to me, etc. We would do some full leg massages and range of motion, but not nearly as much as the feet. Occasionally we would do little mini overall massages, mostly as play just as you would do with any typical child. We were never diligent enough to sit down for actual massage times – really just doing it throughout the day as it fit into life. For us, it made a huge, lasting difference (well…so far…she is only 3 years old!). However, now she has full range of motion in both feet with one flexor tendon a bit tighter than the other and can stand/walk flat footed w/o bracing. Every one of her physical therapists and her orthotist have admitted that they didn’t think this would ever happen with her based on her initial presentation. That being said – perhaps this would have been the course regardless of massage, stretching and range of motion exercises. There is really no way to know for sure. But, I am confident that it didn’t hurt anything and potentially made a huge, lasting impact. It is not hard nor time consuming. It became habit quickly and now, at 3 years old, she really likes it and asks for a massage. Well…there you go….that is the side effect. Girl will need to plan a huge spa budget for the future as she might be a massage addict at they ripe old age of 3!!

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