This is the first study to objectively assess the athletic ability of school-age congenital clubfoot patients.
Forty-six feet of 30 patients (18 boys, 12 girls) were evaluated in this study. Nine patients were treated conservatively, 8 patients underwent percutaneous tenotomy of the Achilles tendon, and 13 patients were treated with extensive soft-tissue release. The mean age at the investigation was 9.2±1.9 years, and the mean follow-up period was 8.3±2.9 years. Athletic ability was evaluated by calculating Z-scores for the patients' scores in 5 physical fitness tests routinely performed nationwide at elementary schools: 50-meter run; standing long jump; repetition side steps; 20-meter shuttle run; and sit-ups. The Z-scores were calculated based on data published as the nationwide standards.
Of the 148 scores recorded for the 5 tests for the 30 clubfoot patients, 143 scores (96.6%) were higher than the -2 SD value. The mean Z-scores were as follows: -0.32 for 50-meter run; -0.16 for standing long jump; -0.24 for 20-meter shuttle run; 0.22 for repetition side steps; and 0.06 for sit-ups. None of the events showed any significant differences among the three treatment groups.
Congenital clubfoot with satisfactory treatment did not significantly impair the athletic performance.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
Prognostic level III.