Thursday, 23 May 2024
Thursday, 23 May 2024

The MiracleFeet Brace Revolutionising Clubfoot Treatment

A lot of work goes into successful clubfoot treatment, from identification to casting to the tenotomy. However, the stage of treatment most likely to determine long-term success is bracing. A key part of the Ponseti Method involves children wearing an abduction brace consisting of shoes and a bar which maintain the feet in the proper position as they grow. 

International children’s charity MiracleFeet designed and developed its own brace to address an urgent need for clubfoot treatment in low and middle-income countries. Below we explore the creation and impact of this remarkable device which has helped transform thousands of young lives worldwide. 

Unveiling the Challenge

Designed to be worn primarily at night for up to five years, the brace is essential to maintaining proper foot alignment and preventing relapses. However, poor compliance with brace usage often undermines the progress achieved through the Ponseti Method. In addition, most braces are either high-quality but unaffordable, or inexpensive but hard to use, uncomfortable for the child, and/or not easily scalable.

MiracleFeet partners reported that the lack of an easy-to-use affordable brace was the single biggest challenge to scaling the Ponseti treatment in their countries. Recognising that braces are worn for several years after the completion of active treatment and that they are critical to long-term patient outcomes, MiracleFeet set out to create a high-quality, low-cost brace to improve clubfoot treatment in high-need countries.

What’s more, clubfoot braces are among 26 essential assistive products that the World Health Organisation guidelines say health systems need for inclusive health services.

Working with Partners

In 2013, with a partnership with Stanford d.school’s Extreme Affordability course, and with the generous support of corporate allies Suncast and Clarks Shoes, MiracleFeet embarked on a two-year process to develop a game-changing device.

The Result

The outcome of this collaborative effort is the remarkable MiracleFeet Brace, which is user-friendly, durable, and affordable. 

The MiracleFeet brace is not only effective but also comfortable for children to wear and easy for parents to put on. The MiracleFeet brace costs less than $20 to produce and boasts features on par with the much more expensive counterparts used in developed nations. Furthermore, early reports from clinical studies show that it is at least as effective as currently available models.

Its broad, sturdy base allows children to stand while wearing it, while detachable shoes simplify the challenge of dressing an active toddler. The brace’s vibrant appearance transforms it from a mere medical device into a child-friendly accessory, easing the stigma that often accompanies orthopaedic medical treatment devices. Additionally, the bar is available in several sizes to accommodate a child’s growth.

The Impact

Since the initial distribution in 2015, over 60,241 pairs of shoes and 38,015 bars have been distributed to program partners and technical assistance partners in over 35 countries. This award-winning medical innovation has made it possible to treat a leading birth defect inexpensively and effectively on a global scale. 

To learn more about the MiracleFeet brace visit: https://www.miraclefeet.org/the-miraclefeet-brace or https://www.miraclefeetbrace.org/. To learn more about MiracleFeet visit www.miraclefeet.org.

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