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Gordon Syndrome

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Gordon Syndrome is a genetic disorder in which the joints become fixed in a flexed position. Club foot is also commonly associated with Gordon Syndrome and occurs when tendons of the foot are too short, causing the foot to bend downward and inward. While Gordon's Syndrome may be associated with another disease, it can also occur by itself. Gordon's Syndrome is very rare, only occurring once in every 3,000 births. The disorder affects both sides of the body and can be disabling without proper treatment.

Causes of Gordon Syndrome

The cause of Gordon Syndrome is unknown; however, genetic factors and drugs may play a role. Lack of movement in the womb is thought to be the cause of fixed joints. There are several known causes for limited joint movement before birth including: 

  • Abnormal development of the tendons, bones, or joints. 
  • Improper muscle development. 
  • Insufficient space for the fetus to develop in the uterus. 
  • Malformation of the central nervous system and spinal cord.

Gordon Syndrome symptoms

Symptoms of Gordon Syndrome that affect the feet may include: 

  • Club foot.
  • Impaired mobility of the ankles. 
  • Muscle atrophy. 
  • Rigid or permanently fixed joints.

Treatment of Gordon Syndrome

Treatment for club foot and impaired joints, which are commonly associated with Gordon Syndrome, should begin immediately after birth for the best possible outcome. The goal of treatment is to loosen the soft tissues and align the bones into a normal position. Treatment may include physical therapy, splinting, bracing, continuous casting, or surgery.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is most effective when performed early on. Stretching the muscles and manipulating the joints through physical therapy can improve range of motion and prevent joint stiffness and muscle atrophy. Physical therapy may also be combined with splinting which can be beneficial in moving the feet into the normal position while increasing range of motion.

Casting of feet

Another treatment, known as the Ponsetti method, involves weekly casting of the feet, moving them slightly with each cast in order to gradually stretch the skin and rotate the feet into the proper position. Once the casts are removed, braces may need to be worn for several months to maintain the position.

Surgery

If other treatments are not effective, surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity. During surgery, the tendons are loosened to release tension so that the feet can move into the normal position. Following surgery, a splint is usually worn at night for several months. In some cases, it may be clear during infancy that surgery will be the best treatment option.

In these cases, surgery should be performed within the first year. However, the condition can recur over time and additional surgeries might be necessary as the child grows.

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