Monday, October 6, 2008

Ponseti's clubfoot patients get off on right foot - an article from Iowa City Press


Three-year-old Logan Maloney is "very much a mover."

He likes to play soccer in the front yard daily and runs around as much as he can, said his mother, Kerry, of Palatine, Ill.

"We're outside pretty much until it gets freezing out there," she said.

This energetic mobility wasn't always possible. Logan was born with clubfoot, characterized by a deformity of the foot that causes it to turn inward.

At 7 days old, the Maloneys brought Logan to University Hospitals to see Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, a world-renowned expert on clubfoot and the inventor of a non-surgical way called the Ponseti technique to treat the condition through gentle manipulations and plaster casts.

Ponseti's young patients returned Saturday, showing off their treated feet by running happily around the UI Recreation Building during the fifth annual Ponseti Clubfoot Races.

"It's very pleasant to see all these children and their families," Ponseti said. "It's quite an accomplishment ... such good results."

The races also are the final event of the two-day symposium "Treatment of Congenital Clubfoot -- The Ponseti Technique" for orthopaedic surgeons. Clubfoot appears in about one in 1,000 births in the United States.

"It's awesome. It just makes you cry," Kerry Maloney said about watching the children race down the track to Ponseti and his wife, Helena.

"It really does happen," she said. "He's the best."

Paula Holland's 4-year-old son, Logan, had a new set of green casts on his feet during Saturday's races because he went into a relapse in July. That didn't stop him, however, from running with the rest.

When Logan Holland saw Dr. Ponseti for the first time when he was 6 months old -- the fourth doctor to work to treat his clubfoot -- Ponseti said it was the worst case he'd seen in 25 years, said Paula Holland, of Bryan, Texas.

"We knew that he may have a relapse," she said.

Holland said she has complete faith in Ponseti and his method.

"What other doctors couldn't do in 22 weeks, Dr. Ponseti did in four," she said. "When you have the right doctor doing the right thing, and he loves the children as much as you do, it's just amazing."

"He has God's hands," she said. "God literally gave his hands to Dr. Ponseti to use."

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