In 2005, a nationwide clubfoot treatment program focused on the Ponseti method -an effective, affordable and minimally-invasive method- was initiated in China. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and identify barriers to the program. A qualitative study (rapid ethnographic study) was conducted using semi-structured interviews of 44 physicians who attended four of the 10 Ponseti training workshops, focus groups with parents of children with clubfoot, and observation. Several barriers to the Ponseti method are quite unique due to China’s size, socio-economics, culture, politics, and healthcare systems. The barriers were classified into seven themes: (i) physician education, (ii) caregiver compliance, (iii) culture, (iv) public awareness, (v) poverty, (vi) financial constraints for physicians/hospitals, and (vii) challenges of the treatment process. A number of suggestions that could be helpful in reducing or eliminating the effects of these barriers were also identified: (i) pamphlets explaining clubfoot and treatment for caregivers, (ii) directories of Ponseti providers, (iii) funding/financial support, and (iv) improving public awareness. The information from this study provides healthcare planners with knowledge to assist in meeting the needs of the population and continued implementation of effective and culturally appropriate awareness and treatment programs for clubfoot throughout China.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of the Ponseti manipulation and casting method for clubfoot in a tertiary hospital in Zimbabwe and explore predictors of these outcomes.A cohort study included children with idiopathic clubfoot managed from 2011 to 2013 at Parirenyatwa Hospital. Demographic data, clinical features and treatment outcomes were extracted from clinic records. The primary outcome measure was the final Pirani score (clubfoot severity measure) after manipulation and casting. Secondary outcomes included change in Pirani score (pre-treatment to end of casting), number of casts for correction, proportion receiving tenotomy and proportion lost to follow up.A total of 218 children (337 feet) were eligible for inclusion. The median age at treatment was 8 months; 173 children (268 feet) completed casting treatment within the study period. The mean length of time for corrective treatment was 10.2 weeks (9.5-10.9 weeks). Of the 45 children who did not complete treatment, 28 were under treatment and 17 were lost to follow up. A Pirani score of 1 or less was achieved in 85% of feet. Mean Pirani score at presentation was 3.80 (SD 1.15) and post-treatment 0.80 (SD 0.56, P-value <0.0001). Severity of deformity and being male were associated with a higher (worse) final Pirani score. Severity and age over two were associated with an increase in the number of casts required to correct deformity.This case series demonstrates that the majority (80%+) of children with clubfoot can achieve a good outcome with the Ponseti manipulation and casting method.
Clubfoot is the commonest congenital deformity in babies. More than 100,000 babies are born worldwide each year with congenital clubfoot. Around 80% of the cases occur in developing nations. We treated 154 feet [mean Pirani score (total) 5.57] in 96 children (78 males, 18 females) by the Ponseti method from January 2003 to December 2005. A prospective follow-up for a mean duration of 19.5 months (range 6-32 months) was undertaken. After six months of treatment the Pirani score was reduced to zero for all patients. The results show that corrective surgery, sometimes multiple, can be avoided in most cases which are usually associated with the development of a stiff, painful foot. Low socio-economic status and illiteracy prevailing in developing nations increases the prevalence of neglected clubfoot that is still harder to correct. Integration into various programs and proper use of available resources can decrease neglected clubfoot and improve chances of successful and timely correction of deformity. Bracing constitutes an important part of treatment and proper motivation and education of the parents mitigates the chances of losing correction. The Ponseti method of correcting clubfoot is especially important in developing countries, where operative facilities are not available in the remote areas and well-trained physicians and personnel can manage the cases effectively with cast treatment only.