Never underestimate the power of parents who want the best for their children. It used to be that if your baby was born with clubfoot, the likely option was to have your child undergo surgery. Two things changed that: the work of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti in the 1940s and ‘50s, and the Internet explosion in the last couple of decades.
Dr. Ponseti noticed that many of his patients with painful foot problems had had surgery for clubfoot as children. He began looking for a better way to treat this deformity that causes a baby’s foot to point down and twist in.
He researched and developed a method that uses a series of gentle manipulations and castings over several weeks to gradually stretch out tight tissues and move the baby’s foot into proper position. However, the innovative clubfoot treatment was mainly used at the University of Iowa hospital where he worked and was slow to gain traction among foot and ankle specialists.
The advent of the Internet changed that. New moms and dads were able to go online and search for alternatives to foot surgery for their little ones. They found stories from people who had—or knew of—a child who was treated by Dr. Ponseti, and could attest to the results. Moms began forming online support groups and spreading the word to others, and the U of I saw increasing requests for treatment from around the USA and from other countries as well.
In effect, parents started a medical revolution. Parents began asking their doctors about this new method, and various types of physicians started going to Iowa to learn the correct procedures. The use of the Ponseti method has expanded until it is now considered the gold standard for clubfoot care and practically eliminated the need for extensive surgery.
Our own Dr. Rodriguez at Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists was fortunate enough to train with Dr. Ponseti, and has helped many children have straight feet that allow them to walk, run and play as other children do without surgery. If you or someone you know is dealing with this diagnosis in your new baby, call our office in Ladera Ranch, CA at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) to discuss this procedure with us. We’ll help your new little one on the path to healthy feet that allow them to walk and run normally.