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Non-Surgical Clubfoot Treatments Bring High Level of Success
Date:11/3/2008

f the Internet. Parents began researching treatment options for their children and found information about the Ponseti and French methods, so interest in these treatments began to spread, and we saw how successful they can be."

In the Ponseti method, the foot is stretched and then placed in a cast extending above the knee. Each week, the orthopaedist removes the cast, stretches the foot further toward the correct position, and recasts it. After three to five casts, the foot is straightened but the heel cord (or Achilles tendon) often remains too tight. The heel cord is then surgically lengthened so the foot can be placed in the normal position. A final cast is worn for three weeks as the heel cord mends. After the cast is removed, the child must then wear a brace full-time for three months and then at night for about two years.

The French functional method consists of daily stretching, exercise, massage, and immobilization of the foot with nonelastic tape to slowly move the foot to the correct position. These therapy sessions are performed primarily by a physical therapist for the first three months, when most of the improvement occurs, but parents receive training during this time in order to perform some of the treatments at home. The taping and splinting continues until the child is two years old. It is important to note that this method is currently not available in many parts of the United States.

In the study, parents were given the choice of the two treatment methods. More than twice as many parents chose the Ponseti Method, in part because of the difficulty for some parents to make the daily visits to the hospital required by the French Functional Method. The average severity of the condition within both groups was about the same. The patients were then followed through the next two years of treatment.

The results were similar:

-- In the Ponseti group:

-- 94.4 percent achieved satisfactory initial correct
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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