The Ponseti Method of clubfoot management was developed at the University of Iowa by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, M.D. This method for clubfoot treatment is nearly 100% effective when used properly by a trained health care provider and is considered the “gold standard” treatment for clubfoot.
The Ponseti method of clubfoot treatment includes gentle foot manipulations and plaster cast applications, with minimal or no surgery. Ideally, the treatment should begin in the first week or two of life. However, beginning treatment at a later age produces good results as well.
The Ponseti treatment process is simple:
- Identification: A child is identified with clubfoot if the feet are turned inward. Treatment should begin in the first week or two of life in order to take advantage of the favorable elasticity of the foot.
- Casting: Over the course of several weekly sessions, the foot is gently stretched and then a cast is applied to keep the foot in its new corrected position. This method is repeated for five to eight weeks, and gradually, the foot is brought back into alignment. Before applying the last plaster cast, which will the baby will wear for approximately three weeks, the Achilles tendon is often cut to complete the correction of the foot and by the time the cast is removed, this tendon will regenerate to a proper length.
- Shoe Brace: In order to prevent relapse following the casting process, the child will be fitted with a splint consisting of a bar with high top, open-toed shoes attached. The child will need to wear this splint full-time for the first 2-3 months and then at night for 2-4 years.
- Walking Normally!