Clubfoot is the number one birth defect in the world. It causes the feet to turn inward and downward, making normal movement impossible. Nearly 80% if all clubfoot cases occur in developing nations, many children with clubfoot don’t receive treatment. Each decade more than one million children are painfully disabled. Even those treated surgically can develop serious complication and 47% need additional surgeries.
Dr. Ignacio Ponseti pioneered the Ponseti Method at the University of Iowa. This non-surgical, low-cost treatment for clubfoot uses gentle, manual manipulation of the child’s foot to stretch ligaments and realign bones. Once repositioned, the foot is held in place by a cast that is changed after each successive manipulation. Children then wear a simple foot brace for a period of time to prevent relapse.
Our goal is to make the Ponseti Method available to every child with the clubfoot deformity. To achieve this goal we have also started outreach efforts to train physicians and other health care providers on the proper use of the Ponseti Method.
Dr. Ponseti was devloted to the children but when he turned 70 years old he was forced to retire due to university rules. When the University of Iowa rules changed, he returned two years later in 1986. He worked everyday until he died at age 95.