One of the most common causes of foot deformities in children is amniotic band syndrome. ABS is a congenital irregularity that causes fetal parts to become entrapped in fibrous amniotic bands during fetal development. There has been some research which suggests that it is caused by early amniotic rupture resulting in the formation of fibrous stands that then get trapped with the limbs. 1 in every 1,200 births is affected by ABS, but thankfully there are treatment options.
Effects of Amniotic Band Syndrome
Each case of Amniotic Band Syndrome is different, so its effect varies and no one person’s symptoms are the same. For some, there can be a webbing of the toes. Others might experience swollen feet, clubfoot, stunted growth of the toe bones, or an irregularity in the length of one’s limbs.
Since there are so many different manifestations of ABS, treatments vary from person to person. A podiatrist will examine your child’s feet to determine how they have been affected and what treatment process will be best.
Treatment of ABS Deformities
Two of the more common ABS foot deformities in children are Syndactyly and clubfoot.
Syndactylyrefers to webbing between the toes. This can be addressed by plastic surgery. Sometimes multiple procedures are necessary to resolve the condition completely.
When the foot is stuck in an abnormal position, this is what’s called clubfoot. A podiatrist will realign the foot into its proper position then place it in a cast or splint to hold the foot in place. Eventually the immobilization helps to manipulate the foot so that over time it becomes correctly aligned. In severe cases that resist this nonsurgical method, a surgery can be performed in which the soft tissue is lengthened or released so that the bone can be repositioned.
In Utero Surgery Treatment
If it is discovered that the foot is entangled in utero, in some situations, a surgeon can attempt to free the limbs of the fetus before birth. This is typically done when the injury is not life threatening and is a minimally invasive procedure.
In extremely serious cases, if the limb is entangled in the fibrous amniotic bands to such a degree that deformity is beyond treatment, the foot may have to be amputated. However, with today’s advanced technology, there are prosthetics and physical therapy that can help your child live a full and active life.
If your child has an ABS foot deformity, don’t hesitate to seek help from a podiatrist. The sooner your child’s foot is treated, the better the chances are for a return to normal function.
For information on the treatment of other foot deformities in children affected by amniotic band syndrome, contact Mark Gasparini, D.P.M. at (516) 804-9038. You can also visit us online, at or Lindenhurst, NY office, or any of our other convenient locations. Amniotic Band Syndrome can have serious complications for children, but there are treatments available to help your child experience the best quality of life possible. Call for an appointment today.
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