Using the Ponseti Method, the preferred treatment method in developed countries, the disability can be corrected permanently through a series of castings and subsequent bracing without using highly invasive, painful and expensive reconstructive surgery. The feet of children with clubfoot corrected using the Ponseti Method are nearly indistinguishable from those of children born without this debilitating condition. The Ponseti Method’s success rate can be as high as 95% for children treated within the first two years of life provided brace compliance is maintained.
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!