Why We Celebrate World Clubfoot Day

by | May 11, 2018

Every June, we take time to celebrate World Clubfoot Day. It is not just a special time for us, but for the children we treat and their families as well.

Clubfoot treatment is a life-changing journey for all who are involved.

From the medical professionals who find their calling in learning how to help clubfoot families, to the parents who suddenly learn that clubfoot will be a part of their newborn child’s life, all are connected; and often in a deeper way than many who are not directly exposed to this condition may expect.

When we celebrate World Clubfoot Day, we also celebrate our connections. We’d like to highlight a few of them here.

Dr. Ignacio Ponseti – The Clubfoot Pioneer

The official date for World Clubfoot Day is June 3rd. That’s the birthday of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, and it’s safe to say that there would be much less to celebrate were it not for him!

In his studies in the 1950s, Dr. Ponseti realized that the surgical methods favored for treating clubfoot at the time had serious future consequences for many patients. Many babies treated surgically for clubfoot did not have the condition fully corrected, and were more likely to suffer from additional problems such as arthritis.

Dr. Ponseti was not satisfied with these results, and dedicated his time to creating a more effective and less invasive method of clubfoot correction. By using a series of above the knee plaster casts, a physician could gently manipulate developing legs and feet over time into their normal positions.

Known as the Ponseti Method, this is the gold standard we and many specialists across the world use today to help clubfoot families. Yes, it takes time, but it has resulted in stronger, healthier adulthoods for so many who have been treated.

Dr. Rodriguez was lucky to have trained with Dr. Ponseti, and all our clubfoot families undergoing casting treatment know exactly what the process is like for each other. It is no understatement to say that Dr. Ponseti’s influence is the foundation of World Clubfoot Day!

A Clubfoot Community

While there are common threads between families who are managing clubfoot and clubfoot treatments, each still has their own individual story to tell.

One of the most important goals of World Clubfoot Day—and with all the other clubfoot family meetups we hold throughout each year—is to bring people together to share these tales with empathetic ears.

Clubfoot Community

While doctors are able to provide care and support, going through an experience as long and demanding as clubfoot treatment can feel very isolating. There may be fears that others don’t really understand what their child or they themselves are going through. There can even be misguided feelings of guilt over their child having to face clubfoot to begin with.

Banding together with other families who are going and have gone through the same experiences can provide plenty of hope and reassurance for parents, while at the same time bringing children together to play with other kids who are undergoing the same treatment!

Our World Clubfoot Day events focus on interaction between families, but also highlights those who have used their experiences to reach out to the community even further. Jill Harold is one of these special people.

Jill’s daughter, Brooklynn, was treated for clubfoot via the Ponseti method. They understood the challenges that Brooklynn faced, and Jill wanted to write a children’s book to provide a way to explain clubfoot to siblings and encourage families to stay determined.

The result was “Hip, Hop, Hooray for Brooklynn Bunny!”, the tale of a little bunny who wants to play in the Hippity Hop Games, but must wear braces to straighten out her paws.

The book emphasizes how the whole family is part of the journey when a child undergoes such long-term treatment. And although it was inspired by the Brooklynn’s clubfoot journey, it leaves bunny Brooklynn’s actual condition open-ended, in order to be more inclusive toward families undergoing similar treatments.

Spirits of unity, of shared experience, and of simply playing together power our supportive clubfoot community and fuel World Clubfoot Day as well.

Reaching Out

Last but not least, World Clubfoot Day provides chances for our groups to reach out to others facing the same challenges.

Clubfoot treatment is not just needed here in California, but across the country and throughout the world!

By participating in the World Clubfoot Day raffle, you will be helping  Clubfoot C.A.R.E.S, a nationally-based advocacy group created by moms who have children with clubfoot

World Clubfoot Day represents so many facets of the clubfoot journey: the medical history of providing appropriate treatment, the inward challenges families face, the ability to connect with similar families locally, and the desire to help others along the away.

We’re honored to be a part of the journeys of all our families, and would love to have you join us. Our 3rdAnnual World Clubfoot Day California is June 9, 2018 at 11 a.m. in Florence Joyner Olympiad Park. The theme this year will be the Olympics, too!

For more information on our event, or to speak with our office regarding clubfoot treatment, please call (949) 364-9255(WALK).