The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a clinical report, “Diagnosis and Treatment of Idiopathic Congenital Clubfoot,” in the February 2022 Pediatrics. The report, written by the AAP Section on Orthopaedics and published online Jan. 31, describes idiopathic congenital clubfoot as the most common serious musculoskeletal birth defect in the United States and the world, occurring in about 1 to 2 out of 1,000 births. About 80% of children with clubfoot are born in countries with limited resources. Without treatment, the deformity persists into adult life with a significant decrease in function and quality of life. The report discusses the use of the Ponseti method (manipulation, casting and bracing of the clubfoot), which has become the most effective and accepted treatment for children born with clubfeet worldwide. The Ponseti method, used more often in industrialized countries, requires treatment by trained specialists and parent education on the importance of adhering to a four-year bracing phase of the treatment. Although seldom seen in the U.S., children born with clubfeet in countries with limited resources reach adulthood unable to wear shoes, walking on the top of their feet with their toes pointed backward. Cultural bias and prejudices often relegate these children to a life of poverty, lack of education, and difficulty finding a marriage partner. To these individuals, clubfoot correction is life changing, and so the goal of practitioners is to see the Ponseti method successfully used in every country. To request an embargoed copy of the clinical report or an interview with an author, contact AAP Public Affairs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.