Article Reviews Techniques for Idiopathic Clubfoot Correction

Study shows Ponseti slightly better than French functional method, but difference not significant
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The techniques for performing the Ponseti and French functional methods of treating idiopathic clubfeet were the focus of an article in a supplement to the October Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Suzanne Steinman, M.D., of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, and colleagues evaluated two approaches for the treatment of idiopathic clubfeet in infants under 3 months of age -- the Ponseti method (267 feet in 176 patients) and the French functional method (119 feet in 80 patients). Outcomes were assessed at a minimum of two years and the results were classified as good, fair or poor.

The researchers found the initial correction rate for the Ponseti method was 94.4 percent, and 95 percent for the French functional method. The Ponseti method resulted in a relapse rate of 37 percent, while the French functional method resulted in a 29 percent relapse rate. Approximately 33 percent of Ponseti method relapses could be adjusted with non-surgical approaches, while all French functional method relapses required surgical intervention. At the most recent follow-up, outcomes were similar for both the Ponseti and French functional methods.

"Nonoperative correction of an idiopathic clubfoot deformity can be maintained over time in most patients. Although there was a trend showing improved results with use of the Ponseti method, the difference was not significant," the authors conclude.

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