Clubfoot Children New Hope
Clubfoot, also known as congenital talipes equinovarus is a type of birth defect in which one or both feet are twisted downward and inward. This birth defect is relatively common and can easily be treated. However, many children in the developing countries do not receive proper or any treatment at all which literally sentences them to life with this birth defect and often further worsens their poverty. But thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, clubfoot children in the developing countries are no longer doomed to life with this foot deformity which forces the patient to walk on the outside of the feet, the balls of the feet or even the top of the feet seriously affecting the quality of life and self-image, especially in the teen years. Dr. Ponseti developed a non-surgical treatment for clubfoot which came to be known as the Ponseti method as early as the 1950s, however, his approach to treatment of clubfoot remained mostly ignored by the end of the 20th century. The medical community officially started using his method only a decade ago. Since surgical treatment outside the industrialized world was and still is unaccessible for the majority of the population, thousands of clubfoot children who could have been successfully treated suffered a permanent foot deformity.
Dr. Ponseti’s method of clubfoot treatment gave a new hope to clubfoot children in the developing countries. His method which has been shown to have a 98 percent success rate is inexpensive and relatively simple. In fact, even non-doctors can learn the Ponseti method. It cannot be learned by just about anyone but it can be learned by health care workers and physical therapists who have enough knowledge to use the method successfully – stretch and turn the affected foot or feet slightly outward, put it in plaster all the way up to the hip for a few weeks and then apply braces for a few years to force the bones to grow into correct position. Severer cases of clubfoot may require surgical treatment anyway but considering that the Ponseti method has cured as much as 98 percent of patients, it has the potential to virtually eradicate this disabling condition worldwide.
In 2006, three years before Dr. Ponseti’s death was established the non-profit organization Ponseti International Association (PIA) at the University of Iowa Health Care’s International Office. Its goal is to spread the Ponseti method worldwide and enable children all over the globe an access to safe and effective clubfoot treatment. To be able to achieve their goal, however, the PIA experts have to travel around the world and teach other health care workers this clubfoot treatment technique which takes time and money. Since its establishment, the PIA managed to raise only about $350,000 from donations which unfortunately is not enough to eradicate clubfoot. But as the news about this inexpensive yet effective and safe treatment has spread, more and more people are helping the organization financially and medically giving children in impoverished countries a hope for a normal life.
I have been a Registered Nurse for 15+ years. With strong writing and computer skills. I have a passion for both writing and medicine, and I love to combine my two loves into a professional, well-written, and accurate research article. With a background in nursing, I am uniquely qualified to research and write on a variety of health-related topics. Check me out at Google