What is the Ponseti method of treating a child’s clubfoot?

In the Ponseti method of treating a child's clubfoot, the abnormally positioned foot is put in a series of casts and gradually stretched to the plantigrade position, where the foot can be put flat on the ground. Clubfoot generally needs treatment from an orthopedic surgeon.

The Ponseti method has been around for more than 50 years. Often it eliminates the need for surgery completely, or if surgery is needed, it's much less involved and is more minimally invasive than a lot of the surgeries that were done in the past.

The Ponseti method is a way to treat clubfoot. It has been used for many years.

• It is a mostly non-surgical method for correcting clubfoot.
• It works best if treatment is started in the first few weeks of life.
• It works well when used correctly.
• It takes several months to complete this treatment.

Treatment is divided into two parts or phases

1. Treatment Phase

• Treatment should begin when a baby is less than a week old.
• It involves gentle manipulation (movements) and casting of the affected foot. The cast helps hold the foot in the correct position.
• It is usually done every week for a while.
• Slowly the foot will begin to re-shape to the correct position.
• It usually takes 5 or 6 casts to fully correct the foot.

Your baby may also need minor surgery called a tenotomy when the last cast is put on.

• This is the final step in the correction of the clubfoot.
• It is done as an outpatient.
• Your doctor will talk with you about this as your baby’s treatment progresses.

2. Maintenance and Prevention

• After the last cast is removed, your baby will be put into a brace.
• The brace has shoes mounted on a bar
• The brace helps keep the foot in the correct position.
• The brace is often worn 23 hours a day until your baby is pulling to stand and walking.
• Once your baby is standing and walking, the brace can be worn only at night and naptimes.
• If you do not use the brace as advised by your baby’s doctor:

      - The clubfoot deformity will probably return.
      - Your child may need more surgery to correct it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.