Diagnosis and Treatment of Idiopathic Congenital Clubfoot.

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DOI: 10.1542/peds.2021-055555


Idiopathic congenital clubfoot is the most common serious musculoskeletal birth defect in the United States and the world. The natural history of the deformity is to persist into adult life with a significant decrease in function and quality of life. The Ponseti method (serial casting, Achilles tenotomy, and bracing of the clubfoot) has become the most effective and accepted treatment of children born with clubfoot worldwide. The treatment is successful, particularly when the Ponseti-trained practitioner (often a pediatric orthopedic surgeon), the primary care clinician, and the family work together to facilitate success. An important factor in the ultimate success of the Ponseti method is parental understanding of the bracing phase. There is a very high rate of recurrent deformity when bracing is not done properly or is stopped prematurely. The importance of positive education and support for the parents to complete the entire treatment protocol cannot be overstated. The goal of treatment is a deformity-free, functional, comfortable foot. Ponseti clubfoot programs have been launched in most countries throughout the world, including many countries with limited resources. Ultimately, the goal is that every infant born with a clubfoot will have access to care with the Ponseti method. This clinical report is intended for medical practitioners who are involved in the care of pediatric patients with clubfoot. Understanding the standard of care will help these practitioners to care for patients and their families.

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