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For Parents of Children with Clubfoot

"When parents are faced with this disaster of seeing a baby born with clubfeet, they get to be very depressed. When they go to the doctor and are told that their baby must have surgery, they are sad. But when they can see that this deformity is nothing, that is a very easy thing to correct and the child is normal, they have hope."

Dr Ignacio Ponseti

Please be reassured that your child is very likely to be successfully treated using The Ponseti Method. Minimal or no surgery should be necessary, except in the most complicated cases (less than 5%). Our recommendation is to talk to a Ponseti-trained doctor as soon as possible. Treatment should ideally start 7-10 days after birth.

Treatment using Dr. Ponseti's approach will involve 5-8 weeks of manipulations and castings. The foot is precisely and gently manipulated, which should not hurt the child, and then placed in a long leg (toe to groin) plaster cast. The cast should be well molded around the foot.

The cast is removed after 5-7 days and the process repeated. The foot should be in a fully corrected position after 5-6 casts.

Most cases will then require a tenotomy, a simple procedure to release the tightness in the heel usually done using local anaesthesia. Three weeks later the last cast is taken off.

The child will then wear a foot abduction brace, a simple bar and shoes device, that keeps the feet in a set position to prevent relapse. The brace is worn for 23 hours a day for the first 3 months and then at night and during naps for 4-5 years. The brace prevents the corrected feet from relapsing. Bracing is the only statistically significant factor in relapse, so this phase of treatment is extremely important. Although many parents worry about their child tolerating the brace, most people find the children get used to it quickly and learn to kick, crawl, stand up and even walk in the brace.

The Ponseti Method is based on a deep understanding of the anatomy of the foot. The foot should be in the correct position after 5-7 casts if the Ponseti Method is being done correctly. Surgeons with only limited experience in using the Ponseti Method should not attempt clubfoot corrections. More damage can be done if the castings are not done accurately.