How We Treat Clubfoot
Manipulation And Casting
Most children treated for clubfoot at NewYork-Presbyterian undergo therapy with the Ponseti method, which has spared many children from clubfoot surgery.
- We begin this treatment with gentle manipulation of your child's feet within the first weeks of life, along with casts that we change weekly after each stretching session for up to two months. Your commitment to weekly visits during this time is essential for the treatment to be successful.
- After that period, your child wears a brace or splint until age two or three.
We reserve surgery for the most complex cases of clubfoot that we cannot successfully treat using other therapies. An example is "hindfoot equines," which we typically treat by surgically releasing the Achilles tendon.
Studies have suggested that surgery between the ages of 6 and 12 months minimizes scarring, which can occur with younger children, while maximizing the opportunity for growth and remodeling of the bones and muscles of your child's foot and ankle, which occurs rapidly in the first year of life.
- To realign the foot properly, we surgically release the soft tissues in multiple regions to loosen several of the abnormally tightened ligaments or tendons.
- We place a cast on your child's lower leg and foot either in the operating room immediately following surgery or a week after surgery.
- To maximize healing of your child's foot and ankle following the operation, your child must wear the cast for four to six weeks.
- We may also prescribe the use of a splint after we take off the cast, which your child may need to wear for up to two years.