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Clubfoot is the most common foot deformity. It is caused by a shortened Achilles tendon that twists the foot downward and inward, which makes walking difficult or impossible. If left untreated, clubfoot leads to a lifetime of disability. However, if clubfoot is treated early, children can walk and function normally.
500 children are born with clubfoot each day. But thanks to organizations like Hope Walks, most of these children are successfully treated and go on to live full lives.
The world standard for treating clubfoot is known as the Ponseti Method, named for Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, who developed the technique.
The Ponseti Method is a two-step solution for children under the age of two and works best if started at birth. The Method uses a series of casts and braces to noninvasively correct the foot’s alignment giving the child the ability to walk normally.
The second stage of treatment requires children to wear corrective braces, called Foot Induction Braces, which seek to hold the foot in the corrected position and maintain that correction over time so that the clubfoot does not come back. Initially children are required to wear the braces 23 hours per day for two to three months.
Hope Walks had the brilliant idea to paint the plain brown braces with the hope that children might be excited to wear them.
The Rees-Jones Foundation staff enjoyed a long lunch together painting dozens of pairs of leather braces for the children served by Hope Walks. Each pair was shipped back to Ethiopia with a little message of encouragement. Members of the Foundation staff are now anxiously awaiting photos of their painted braces in action – giving children the ability to run free.
To learn more about clubfoot, be sure to check-out the Foundation’s other blogs: World Clubfoot Day Celebrates the Birth of Ignacio Ponseti | The Foundation’s Dedication to Clubfoot Relief | World Clubfoot Day June 3
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