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Worldwide, it is estimated that each year more than one in every 1,000 babies are born with congenital clubfoot (both the toes and heels are turned in and the heel also lifts up). It is usually an isolated disorder, not indicative of larger health issues. The goal of clubfoot treatment is to obtain a functional, pain-free foot with good mobility. While past treatments were mostly surgical, current treatment (Ponseti technique) starts at 4–6 days of age and is mostly nonsurgical. It involves three years of intensive treatment, which has a success rate well over 90 percent.

Ponseti technique

The first part of the technique involves the surgeon manipulating the feet, which are then immobilized with the precise, gentle molding of a cast. For a period of five to six weeks, once a week, the cast is removed, the feet are further corrected and a new cast is applied. Once the orthopaedic surgeon is satisfied that he has obtained the desired realignment of the foot, he performs tendon surgery to lengthen the heel cord. Following the surgery, the patient spends three more consecutive weeks in a cast. Once the last cast is removed, the child is fitted with braces, which consist of shoes attached to a bar. To maintain the proper alignment of the corrected foot, the patient must wear the brace for 23 hours a day for three months; then, only during nap time and at night until the age of 3.

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