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Book On Gold Standard Clubfoot Treatment Now Free

Armen Hareyan's picture

Clubfoot Treatment

Doctors and other health care workers worldwide who want to learn about the most successful clubfoot treatment can now access online and for free a book that otherwise would cost $75 to purchase.

"Congenital Clubfoot: Fundamentals of Treatment" by Ignacio Ponseti, M.D., may not be a bestseller, but it's a "must-read" for health care professionals who want to help children with clubfoot, which twists the feet inward and downward. Nearly 150,000 children are born each year with clubfoot.

Access to the book requires only a brief registration at http://www.ponseti.info/pia/ and is made possible by the University of Iowa Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation and Ponseti International. Registered users also will have access to new materials as they are made available at the site.

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The Ponseti Method is a nonsurgical, low-cost technique with a 95 percent correction rate. The method is the standard of care for clubfoot treatment around the world, and putting the book online will help raise even more awareness, said Jose Morcuende, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally recognized expert on clubfoot who is professor of orthopaedic surgery at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.

"Although it's ideal to train doctors and other health care professionals about the Ponseti method in person, this isn't always possible, especially for our colleagues in developing countries," Morcuende said. "We learned that a doctor overseas who had purchased the book and followed the method was achieving a 50 percent success rate on clubfoot cases. We wanted to build on that kind of initiative by making the book easily available online at no cost."

In its first two days online, the book was downloaded 230 times by individuals representing 34 countries.

Through precise, gentle manipulation and a series of casts, the Ponseti method brings children's feet to a normal position -- all without expensive, painful surgery. The procedures described in the book are not designed for use at home but only by health professionals in a clinical setting.

The procedure is especially useful in developing countries, where it costs on average only $135 -- less than the cost of two books in print. Nearly 80 percent of children born with clubfoot live in impoverished nations. Ponseti International also is working to educate physicians in the United States, where nearly half of clubfoot cases still are treated with less successful surgical approaches.

In the 1940s, early in his UI career, Ponseti realized that surgical approaches were not successful. Ponseti, now emeritus professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at the UI Carver College of Medicine, then developed the method that now bears his name.