The late Dr. Ignacio Ponseti created the Ponseti Method; the non-surgical correction of clubfoot through manipulation, casting and bracing. Dr. Ponseti developed this technique in the early 1950’s at the University of Iowa and the Ponseti Method for clubfoot correction is recognized as the gold standard around the world.
The Ponseti Method for clubfoot treatment is based on a sound understanding of the functional anatomy of the foot and on the biological response of muscles, ligaments and bone to corrective position changes that can be gradually obtained by manipulation and casting. The majority of clubfeet can be corrected in infancy in about six to eight weeks if the true Ponseti Method is properly applied.
Five to seven plaster casts extending from the toes to the upper thigh with the knee at a right angle should be sufficient to correct the clubfoot deformity. Even the very stiff feet require no more than 8 or 9 plaster casts to obtain maximum correction. Before applying the last plaster cast which is to be worn for three weeks, the Achilles tendon is often cut in an office procedure to complete the correction of the foot. By the time the cast is removed the tendon has regenerated to a proper length.
For additional information on the Ponseti Method for treating clubfoot please visit http://www.ponseti.info/
The Iowa Brace Maintains Clubfoot Correction
Following the Ponseti casting, the corrected clubfoot deformity tends to relapse. Therefore, bracing is critical to maintain the correction. When the last plaster cast is removed, a brace must be worn full-time for two to three months and thereafter at night and during naps for 3-4 years. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the brace wearing schedule for your child. The brace is intended to maintain the correction that has been achieved through manipulation and casting; the brace does not further correct the foot.
Currently, the major reasons for discontinuing the use of the brace are discomfort and skin irritations. The Iowa Brace has been specifically developed to minimize these problems.