The Ponseti Method for Clubfoot: What to Expect

The Ponseti method is a nonsurgical treatment for clubfoot that uses casts and braces to help your child’s foot function normally.

There is no need to start the Ponseti method on the first day after birth. You can start one or two weeks after your child’s birth so that you can spend some time with your child before starting treatment.

The Ponseti method consists of two phases

In the first phase, your child will wear a series of casts, and in the second phase, your child will wear a brace.

During the first phase of the Ponseti method, our doctors will gently manipulate or position your child’s foot and apply a cast to correct the foot deformity. This phase lasts approximately two months, as the typical foot corrects after five casts are applied. The first four casts are applied weekly, and the final cast is kept on for three weeks. Occasionally, if the Achilles tendon is too tight, our doctors will cut the tendon as the final step of deformity correction. If this occurs, it will be the only part of the entire process that is considered surgical, and this minor procedure can be performed in the operating room or sometimes in the doctor’s office.

In the second phase of the Ponseti method, your child will wear braces for the next three to four years. Your child’s feet will be placed into the clubfoot brace, which consists of special shoes connected by a bar that keep the feet rotated outward. Your child will wear the brace for 23 hours each day for three months, with one hour daily out of the brace for bathing and foot stretching.

After three months, your child will wear the clubfoot brace at night for the next three to four years. Your child will see our doctors every four to six months for an assessment of foot shape, mobility, and function. If your child does not wear the brace for as much time as needed, there is a much greater likelihood that clubfoot deformity will reoccur.