Treatment of neuromuscular and syndrome-associated (nonidiopathic) clubfeet using the ponseti method

Joseph A Janicki, Unni G. Narayanan, Barbara Harvey, Anvesh Roy, Leonhard E. Ramseier, James G. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Clubfeet are associated with many neuromuscular and congenital conditions. Nonidiopathic clubfeet are typically thought to be resistant to nonoperative management. The Ponseti method has revolutionized the treatment of patients with idiopathic clubfeet. The purpose of this study was to describe the use of the Ponseti method in the treatment of patients whose clubfeet are associated with a neuromuscular diagnosis or a syndrome. METHODS: All patients with clubfeet who were treated at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, from 2001 to 2005 were reviewed. Patients were included only if a neuromuscular condition or a syndrome associated with clubfeet could be identified and if the primary treatment was at our institution. Twenty-three patients with 40 nonidiopathic clubfeet and 171 patients with 249 idiopathic clubfeet have been treated with a minimum follow-up time of 1 year. The outcomes evaluated included the number of casts, the percentage of patients requiring percutaneous Achilles tendon lengthening (tenotomy of the Achilles tendon [TAT]), rate of recurrences, rate of failures, and the need for additional secondary procedures. RESULTS: The mean age at presentation for nonidiopathic clubfeet was 11 weeks. The mean follow-up time was 33 months, and the mean number of casts was 6.4; a percutaneous TAT was necessary in 27 (68%) of 40 feet. Failure of the Ponseti casting occurred in 4 (10%) of the 40 feet. Recurrence requiring additional treatment occurred in 16 (44%) of 36 feet. Additional procedures included second percutaneous TAT, limited posterior/plantar release, or complete posteromedial release totaling 11 (28%) of 40. When compared with idiopathic clubfeet, nonidiopathic clubfeet required more casts and had a higher rate of failures, recurrences, and additional procedures than idiopathic clubfeet. CONCLUSIONS: Although not as successful as for idiopathic clubfeet, when the Ponseti technique is applied to nonidiopathic clubfeet, correction can be achieved and maintained in most patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic level 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009


  • Clubfoot
  • Neuromuscular
  • Ponseti

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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