Rapid decrease of cast-induced forces during the treatment of clubfoot using the Ponseti method

R.B. Giesberts* (Corresponding Author), E.E.G. Hekman, G.J. Verkerke, P.G.M. Maathuis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
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    Aims The Ponseti method is an effective evidence-based treatment for clubfoot. It uses gentle manipulation to adjust the position of the foot in serial treatments towards a more physiological position. Casting is used to hold the newly achieved position. At first, the foot resists the new position imposed by the plaster cast, pressing against the cast, but over time the tissues are expected to adapt to the new position and the force decreases. The aim of this study was to test this hypothesis by measuring the forces between a clubfoot and the cast during treatment with the Ponseti method. Patients and Methods Force measurements were made during the treatment of ten idiopathic clubfeet. The mean age of the patients was seven days (2 to 30); there were nine boys and one girl. Force data were collected for several weeks at the location of the first metatarsal and the talar neck to determine the adaptation rate of the clubfoot. Results In all measurements, the force decreased over time. The median (interquartile range) half-life time was determined to be at 26 minutes (20 to 53) for the first metatarsal and 22 minutes (9 to 56) for the talar neck, suggesting that the tissues of the clubfoot adapt to the new position within several hours. Conclusion This is the first study to provide objective force data that support the hypothesis of adaptation of the idiopathic clubfoot to the new position imposed by the cast. We showed that the expected decrease in corrective force over time does indeed exist and adaptation occurs after a relatively short period of time. The rapid reduction in the forces acting on the foot during treatment with the Ponseti method may allow significant reductions in the interval between treatments compared with the generally accepted period of one week.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1655-1660
    Number of pages6
    JournalThe Bone & joint journal
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018


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