Nearly 200 medical experts from 44 countries are in Coralville this weekend for a symposium on the methods of a University of Iowa doctor in the treatment of clubfoot. Clubfoot causes the feet to turn inward and downward and affects nearly 150-thousand babies each year.
For the last 50 years, U-of-I doctor Ignacio Ponseti has applied a procedure that involves the gentle manipulation of the foot combined with plaster casts. It’s proved to be 95-percent affective. Dr. James Hanson with the National Institutes of Health says the medical world is in Coralville to reach a consensus on the treatment.
He says the excitement is the vision of brighter future for millions of people around the world, as it is the most frequent structural limb disorders in the world, and the most birth defects anywhere. Alternative surgical treatments have proven to damage the foot. Jennifer Trevillian of Illinois says other treatments failed for her daughter Kelly until she learned about Ponseti.
Trevillian says you can’t even tell by looking now which foot is her daughter’s club foot. Even with the success stories U-o-f-I officials say only about half the orthopedists in the U.S. are actively using the Ponseti method.