What is Ponseti casting?
Ponseti casting is a technique used to correct a clubfoot gently and gradually. Starting when a child is an infant, the foot position is corrected in a step-by-step manner that addresses each part of the foot that is being corrected. Casts are applied in a clinic appointment and typically are changed every week. During each clinic visit, the provider will gently stretch your child's foot, and then apply a new cast which will hold the foot in a gradually more corrected position. During that week, the tendons and ligaments of the foot slowly adapt to the new foot position. Most children need an average of 5-8 casts for correction, then most children will need an Achilles tendon lengthening as well – a procedure that ensures the tendon is flexible as the child grows. When the Achilles tendon is lengthened, a final cast is needed for 3 additional weeks while the tendon heals.
Candidates for the Ponseti Method
If your infant or child has clubfoot, the Ponseti method might be part of your treatment plan. Or, if your child has a condition associated with clubfoot, such as:
- Cerebral palsy.
- Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH).
- Skeletal dysplasias.
- Spina bifida.
The younger your child is when treatment begins, the better the results typically are.
How the Ponseti Method for Clubfoot Helps
The long-term goal of the Ponseti method—and related clubfoot treatment—is to correct clubfoot and maintain the correction. At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, we strive for the best possible alignment and range of motion of the foot to support your child’s growth and development.
In the vast majority of cases, the Ponseti method can successfully correct clubfoot. Studies show that kids treated with the Ponseti method have a more flexible foot and ankle than do those treated with only surgery. Long-term studies of the Ponseti method demonstrate that its benefits extend into adulthood.
The doctor who developed the method, Ignacio Ponseti, says, “The well-treated clubfoot is no [disability] and is fully compatible with a normal active life.”