Although the etiology of congenital clubfoot remains unknown, reproducible pretreatment grading now seems possible. However, the lack of an agreed-on and reproducible posttreatment evaluation system still hinders outcome studies of the treatment of clubfoot. The literature from about 1970 to 1990 contains enthusiastic reports on the correction of congenital clubfoot through extensive surgical release procedures. Over time, we have come to recognize the complications of such surgery, including recurrence, overcorrection, stiffness, and pain (WJ Shaughnessy, MD, P Dechet, MD, HB Kitaoka, MD, Vancouver, BC, Canada, unpublished data, 2000). Perhaps because of these findings, there is a renewed interest in nonsurgical techniques for the correction of congenital clubfoot. Recent studies have documented the effectiveness of the two leading techniques involving serial manipulation and cast treatment. The Ponseti technique appears to be effective and requires only a reasonable amount of time out of the lives of the patient and his or her parents. The technique frequently includes some minimally invasive surgery. The Kite and Lovell technique requires minimally invasive surgery less often but is more time consuming. French investigators and others have introduced new ideas that may reduce the need to immobilize the foot. The French approach requires fairly extensive physical therapy and demands substantial parental time and attention. It is not yet clear that the French technique is more successful in obviating the need for surgery than is expertly applied serial manipulation and cast immobilization. It also has not been proved that the long-term results of the French technique are better than those of serial manipulation and cast immobilization. It is probably that unless the French technique is found to substantially decrease the need for surgery, it will prove to be less cost effective than serial manipulation and cast immobilization. It is likely that a small number of clubfeet will require surgery even after expertly applied nonsurgical treatment. However, it is hoped that such surgery will be less extensive than procedures commonly performed in the recent past.

Polls results

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how much this article will change your clinical practice?

NO change
BIG change
87% Article relates to my practice (7/8)
12% Article does not relate to my practice (1/8)
0% Undecided (0/8)

Will this article lead to more cost-effective healthcare?

87% Yes (7/8)
0% No (0/8)
12% Undecided (1/8)

Was this article biased? (commercial or personal)

0% Yes (0/8)
87% No (7/8)
12% Undecided (1/8)

What level of evidence do you think this article is?

0% Level 1 (0/8)
12% Level 2 (1/8)
37% Level 3 (3/8)
0% Level 4 (0/8)
50% Level 5 (4/8)