Dr. Lund with Dr. Ponseti
The diagnosis of clubfoot can be a very unexpected surprise. For most, however, you have had lots of time to think and research this problem. Many questions arise. Did I cause this? Will my next child be affected? Will my child be able to walk? Most commonly however, you want to know if surgery is required. The answer to this question is – usually not!
Because of a method developed by Dr. Ignacio V. Ponseti fifty years ago, fewer and fewer children need extensive surgical releases. The Ponseti method is a conservative way of correcting your child’s deformity through gentle manipulation and casting. The process starts shortly after birth and usually takes about six weeks.
Beginning at the University of Iowa in 1948, this method is not new. It has only been in the last ten years that it has gained near universal acceptance as the treatment of choice for idiopathic clubfoot. I became fascinated with clubfoot in medical school. No mention of Dr. Ponseti or his method was made and emphasis was being placed on surgical correction. I got my first real exposure at Children s Hospital of Oakland. I watched the doctor slowly and gently correct these feet with nothing more than plaster casts and manipulation! I knew I had found my calling in medicine.
Years later I took the opportunity of learning the Ponseti method in Baltimore with Dr. John E. Herzenberg. He was also a convert and perhaps the first doctor outside of Iowa to really adopt this conservative method. After residency graduation I worked with Dr. Ponseti in Iowa. I return frequently to take his refresher courses. I owe a great debt of gratitude to both these wonderful doctors and their individual time and devotion to these children and me.
To me, clubfoot is a passion. I am amazed at what can be done with proper treatment. Even children with previous surgery, relapses and neglected clubfeet will benefit from the Ponseti Method.
I look forward to meeting you and your child!
-Dr. Steven G. Lund