Clubfoot is a common congenital foot deformity in children. Over the past three decades, the Ponseti Method, a series of casting corrections, has become the standard of care in clubfoot treatment. Clubfoot casting is performed by both orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists, but there’s been no comparison of the two Ponseti Method provider types until recently.
Our Campbell Clinic pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, led by Dr. Derek Kelly and then-Chief Resident, Dr. Stephanie Chen, designed a prospective, randomized study to look at the outcomes and complications between casting completed by orthopaedic surgeons (MD) and by physical therapists (PT). One hundred twenty-six children were enrolled into the study and randomized to either the MD group or the PT group. Following randomization, patients received weekly serial casting by the same treatment team until the deformity was completely corrected or until a surgical procedure was performed. Patients were followed until 3 years of age.
Outcomes and complications were comparable between the MD and PT groups. These findings can hopefully give confidence to centers around the world, especially where access to healthcare is limited, that properly-trained providers can achieve equivalent results for babies with clubfoot deformity.