Original Research| Volume 49, ISSUE 5, P426-431, September 2010

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Treatment of Clubfoot with the Ponseti Method: Should We Begin Casting in the Newborn Period or Later?


      The Ponseti method has become accepted worldwide as the treatment of choice for nonoperative management of clubfoot. However, there has been no research on whether casting should begin in the newborn period (≤ 30 days old) or later (> 30 days but < 1 year old) or on whether the length of the foot at the beginning of casting is predictive of the outcome of therapy. Therefore, we conducted an investigation to compare outcomes in patients started on casting therapy in the newborn period or later. Outcomes were based on Pirani and Diméglio scores. The study population was comprised of 40 clubfeet in 29 consecutive infants with no associated neuromuscular disease, who underwent Ponseti treatment. The median follow-up was 34 months (range, 20-47 months). Casting began in the newborn period on 26 feet of 18 patients (newborn group), and after 1 month of age on 14 feet of 11 patients (older infant group). Final Diméglio scores were significantly worse for the patients whose casts were applied in the newborn period, compared with those who had the first cast applied at a time >30 days postpartum (P = .04). Infants with feet ≥8 cm in length at the start of cast treatment had better final Diméglio scores than those with feet <8 cm. Our findings suggest that casting according to the Ponseti method should begin in infants older than 1 month of age, or with an involved foot ≥8 cm in length.

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