WORLD CLUBFOOT DAY
Every year on June 3rd, World Clubfoot Day seeks to unite those affected by clubfoot so that they can inspire and encourage one another. It’s also a day to spread awareness for this common congenital disability.
Each year, up to 200,000 babies across the globe are born with clubfoot. This statistic makes clubfoot one of the most common congenital disabilities in the world. This defect occurs when a baby’s foot twists inward and downward. Clubfoot develops during the formation of the baby’s bones, ligaments, and muscles in the womb. Babies with clubfoot can either have a mild or severe case. In the most severe cases, a baby’s foot looks like it is upside down. In over half of the cases of clubfoot, both feet are affected.
Left untreated, clubfoot can cause a variety of complications. These complications include arthritis and the inability to walk normally. Children with clubfoot might also struggle with a poor self-image. To avoid these kinds of complications, patients usually begin treatment after birth.
One of the most effective forms of treatment for clubfoot is called the Ponseti method. This treatment option involves placing a cast on the foot to hold it in a specific position. Every week, the foot gets repositioned and recast. Repositioning and recasting of the foot are repeated for several months. Toward the end of the process, surgeons perform a minor surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon. After this entire process, the baby wears special shoes and braces for up to three years until the position of the foot is fully corrected. If the Ponseti method is not effective, a more invasive type of surgery may be necessary.
Treatment can help a child born with clubfoot live a fully active life. However, many children throughout the world do not have access to clubfoot treatment. In certain countries, children with untreated clubfoot face exclusion from society. They are unable to get an education and might be unable to work. In some cases, communities also ostracize the mother, blaming her for the child’s deformity.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldClubfootDay
A variety of events are held on this day that enables families affected by clubfoot to meet, connect, and support one another. Many hospitals, foot, and ankle specialists, and healthcare organizations also hold educational seminars and presentations. To participate:
- If you or a family member has been affected by clubfoot, share your story on social media.
- Read about famous people born with clubfeet, such as Dudley Moore, Troy Aikman, and Kristi Yamaguchi.
- Donate to Hope Walks or another organization that offers clubfoot treatment for those in low-income countries.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldClubfootDay
WORLD CLUBFOOT DAY HISTORY
The Ponseti International Association (PIA) established World Clubfoot Day in 2013. They chose June 3rd in honor of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti’s birthday. He is the orthopedist who developed the Ponseti method.