Clubfoot is a congenital deformity of the foot that occurs in approximately 200,000 babies each year worldwide. Untreated, the condition leaves people severely debilitated for life. Until recently, the standard treatment was an expensive, invasive and often ineffective series of surgeries largely unavailable to children in developing countries. In the past 15 years, the Ponseti Method -- a series of manipulations and castings developed by the late Ignacio V. Ponseti, MD, at the University of Iowa more than 60 years ago -- has become the recognized preferred treatment for clubfoot.
Events for International Clubfoot Week September 26 through October 1 are designed to raise awareness about clubfoot and the global effort to train health care providers to treat clubfoot.
A research forum is scheduled for Monday, September 26, in which medical students from the American Medical Student Association will present their international Ponseti Method research and treatment experiences. In addition, Mansoor Khan, MD, of Karachi, Pakistan, will discuss his efforts to bring the Ponseti Method to affected children in Pakistan.
An international summit for parents will be held on Wednesday, September 28, connecting parents of children born with clubfoot from several countries to discuss existing resources for parents and identify areas of need.
In addition, students from Longfellow Elementary School's Key Before and After School Program in Iowa City are spending the month of September learning about clubfoot through a series of activities led by ambassadors from Ponseti International and undergraduate students from the UI. The elementary students are challenged to "walk around the world for those who can't" using pedometers to record the progress of their team.
The annual Ponseti Method Symposium will be held September 29 and 30 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Sponsored by UI Health Care, the UI Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, and the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, the symposium will consist of a series of lectures outlining the treatment technique as well as other general information about Clubfoot. Registrants will practice the technique using models under expert supervision.
The week's events will culminate on October 1 with the Ponseti Races, a three-race event to raise awareness of clubfoot as well as donations for continued research. The races -- a 5K, 10K and child races -- will be held at the UI Sports Medicine Center.