Dr. Ponseti died about a year ago, but he's still one of our greatest heros. Who was he, you ask?
Ignacio Ponseti was an orthopedic doctor who developed a non-surgical method of treating club foot. So what does that mean? Maybe you've never met anyone with this condition, or even seen an untreated club foot.
About 100,000 babies are born with club foot around the world every year. Roughly 80% of these are in developing countries, without good access to high levels of medical care. Traditionally, infants with club foot deformities have been treated by surgery; which is well beyond the reach of many families who have a baby with this problem.
Ponseti's method of manipulation, stretching and carefully molded plaster casts gently correct the club foot without surgery. Even better, children treated with Ponseti's method do not suffer the same number of complications (relapses, scar tissue build up and painful joints) later in life as those treated surgically. It's cheap, it's easy (easy to learn and easy to use), and it works!
We started casting babies with the Ponseti method about 5 years ago, and are still totally amazed and astonished by the results. In just a couple of months, the foot is corrected to a normal position. The child then must wear a brace while sleeping until 3 or 4 years of age, and that's it! Most children do not require further surgery or other intervention.
Want to see how it works? Here a little boy who received treatment through China Little Flower. The photos show the progressive changes in his feet as the casts were changed week by week (click on the photo to see it larger):
Isn't that incredible? We sure think so.