They will be set up at Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Tiruvannamalai and Kanyakumari

Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar on Thursday said club foot clinics for treatment of the congenital deformity will be set up at government medical college hospitals in Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Tiruvannamalai and Kanyakumari districts. Currently, such clinics are functioning at seven places in the State including at the Institute of Child Health (ICH) and Hospital for Children, Egmore.

He was speaking at a function to mark the completion of club foot treatment for 1,500 children — including more than 850 at ICH — across Tamil Nadu. This includes 450 girls.

The clinics also operate from the medical college hospitals at Coimbatore, Thanjavur, Madurai, Vellore and Dharmapuri.

“The government is keen on giving special attention for treatment of congenital malformations,” he said.

In 2010, ICH entered into a memorandum of understanding with Cure International for treatment of club foot. A clinic was set up in February 2011, said B. Pasupathy, professor of paediatric orthopaedics, ICH.

“We receive at least 10 cases a week. We follow the conservative method — Ponseti method — for treatment using plaster castings. The casting – one per week — corrects three components of the deformity – feet turned inwards, heel turned inwards and increased arch of feet. A small procedure — tenotomy — is performed for releasing the tendon and correcting ankles pointed downwards. ICH has done 500 tenotomies so far,” he explained.

After three weeks of casting, the children are given foot abduction braces, which should be worn for 23 hours a day until the child starts to walk and thereafter, eight hours during night. The children use walking club foot shoes till three to four years, he said.

Deen Mohammed Ismail, honorary medical director of Cure International, said that previously, surgeries were performed for club foot but they left residual deformities and stiff feet.

“The conservative method is widely accepted but we are unable to convince doctors in southern Tamil Nadu to follow it. This is because they lack abduction braces and other infrastructure. They still perform operations against the evidence-based method.” The organisation provides the braces free of cost.

V. Kanagasabai, director of medical education, said the Minister has plans to establish the clinics at all medical colleges in the State.

For parents like R. Visalatchi of Sholinganallur, the treatment is a blessing. Her son R. Rupesh, (7), was born with club foot. “It was a traumatizing experience. I delivered the baby at a Corporation hospital at Perumalpet. We were told to go to ICH for treatment. He had the casting for three months and the deformity was corrected. I was so happy when he began to walk,” she said.

New building

Noting that ICH received 2,500 out patients every day and had 500 in-patients, the minister said a new building with 300 beds was under construction at a cost of Rs. 18.3 crore. “As per the Chief Minister’s announcement, the hospital will get a MRI scan and Cath lab,” he added.

ICH Director M. Kannagi was present.

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