CLUBFOOT is a congenital birth defect that affects millions of children globally, yet many are unaware of the condition, how prevalent it is, and how it is treated.
To dispel myths about the condition and its causes here are five facts about clubfoot as well as information about MiracleFeet, an international charity dedicated to ensuring children and families affected by clubfoot receive the life-changing treatment and support they deserve.
1. Clubfoot’s global impact: Clubfoot is the most common musculoskeletal birth condition in the world, affecting approximately 1 in every 700 births or 200,000 children each year, spanning across all continents. Since clubfoot has been overlooked, misunderstood, and underfunded for decades, 2 million children currently live with the pain and stigma of untreated clubfoot.
2. Misperceptions and myths: Despite its prevalence, clubfoot remains widely misunderstood. Some misconceptions include the belief that it is caused by a parent’s actions, is a result of witchcraft or “bad karma”, or that it is incurable. However, with proper treatment, 95% of children with clubfoot can be fully treated and go on to lead active and productive lives.
3. Early intervention is key: Early detection and intervention play a crucial role in successful clubfoot treatment. The Ponseti method, a non-surgical approach developed by Dr Ignacio Ponseti, revolutionised clubfoot management and is deemed the gold standard of care. This method involves gentle manipulation of the feet with a series of plaster casts, followed by a tenotomy (a simple procedure to release the tightness in the heel usually done using local anaesthesia), and finally, a foot-abduction brace to prevent relapse. Ideally, treatment should begin within a week after birth, when the tendons and ligaments are at their most elastic.
4. Overcoming barriers: Accessing treatment is a significant challenge for many families affected by clubfoot, particularly in developing countries. Access to treatment varies greatly across the world, and unlike in the UK – where treatment is provided shortly after birth via the NHS – in low- and middle-income countries, fewer than 15% of children have access to appropriate treatment. Through partnerships with local clinics and hospitals MiracleFeet provides the resources, support, materials, and training to ensure children with clubfoot receive care.
5. MiracleFeet’s transformative impact: Since its inception, MiracleFeet has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of children, and their families. By collaborating with their global network of partners, they have established over 300 clubfoot clinics in more than 30 countries. Through their efforts, over 81,000+ children have received life-changing treatment, enabling them to walk, run, and embrace their full potential.
MiracleFeet is at the forefront of the fight against untreated clubfoot, working tirelessly to ensure that no child is left behind. Their comprehensive approach extends beyond treatment, encompassing education, parental support, and community awareness. By addressing the social and economic barriers surrounding clubfoot, they support families and advocate for the care children deserve.
For more information, please visit the MiracleFeet website: www.miraclefeet.org.