Clubfoot Casting Clinic
Clubfoot is a deformity in which an infant’s foot is turned inward, often so severely that the bottom of the foot faces sideways or even upward. Approximately one infant in every 1,000 live births will have clubfoot, making it one of the more common congenital (present at birth) foot deformities. We use the Ponsetti Casting Method to correct children born with clubfeet.
The clubfoot casting clinic is open every Friday morning. It was developed after an orthopedic surgeon who had been coming to Haiti for years realized that many of his major surgery caseload were older clubfoot kids who never received casting as an infant. It is a major surgery when casting is not completed. The outreach program has been blessed that this Orthopedic Surgeon who has supported and provided the education needed to open the clubfoot clinic. We see an average of 10-15 kids per year and averages only 1 maybe 2 major surgeries a year.
Clubfoot is not painful during infancy. However, if a child’s clubfoot is not treated, the foot will remain deformed, and he or she will not be able to walk normally. Majority of kids in Haiti with clubfoot do not get proper treatment which renders them disabled for life which is heartbreaking since with proper treatment, the majority of children are able to enjoy a wide range of physical activities with little trace of the deformity.
Treatment involves a series of serial casting to stretch and slowly move the muscles and bones usually between 5 and 10 casts depending on the severity of the deformity. The casts are changed weekly. After casting is complete a minor procedure is done to cut the achilles tendon and the child is placed in a cast for 2-3 weeks. The final stage is bracing which is called boots and bars. These are worn at first for 23 hours a day and help keep the feet in the proper position. They slowly decrease the time until they are just worn at night until the age of 5.
The clubfoot casting clinic is literally life changing!