Healing Clubfoot, One Patient at a Time

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Jonathon, an 8-month-old child from Guyana, came to the United States on a mission. Born with bilateral clubfoot, his feet pointed inward and downward, giving them a “club” appearance. Thanks to the efforts of Healing the Children Michigan-Ohio, Jonathon received treatment from our very own Dr. Michael David.

One of the oldest and largest registered charitable organizations, Healing the Children helps underserved children throughout the world secure urgent medical assistance they otherwise are unable to obtain. Through this organization, Dr. David has treated children with clubfeet for the past seven years.

Clubfoot requires treatment to prevent children from walking on their ankles or the sides of their feet. With treatment, according to Dr. David, the vast majority recover and lead normal life with healthy feet.

He initially gained the attention of the organization because of his expertise and utilizing the Ponseti method of clubfoot treatment. In his practice, Dr. David said he “felt dissatisfied with traditional surgery for clubfeet, resulting in stiffness, chronic pain, and arthritis in adults.” The Ponseti method provided the solution for better treatment.

 Dr. David spent time working directly with Dr. Ponseti at the University of Iowa to master the technique.    

Named after world-renowned physician specializing in orthopedics, Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, the Ponseti method gently manipulates and remolds the foot, using a series of plaster casts applied and changed weekly for 3-6 weeks. Compared to traditional corrective surgery, the Ponseti method yields a success rate of greater than 80 percent, allowing children to function normally, run and play sports.

“Treating children with clubfeet is an extremely rewarding experience,” Dr. David said. “If I can make an impact on a child's life, improve their daily function, and return them to normal physical activity, it will have a major impact on their life.”

According to Dr. David, the Ponseti method of treating clubfoot as proven to be a highly successful treatment. Over the years, he’s seen most cases resolve the condition without any major surgical intervention. Every year, he treats anywhere from 5 to 10 patients with clubfoot, some who live in West Michigan and others, like Jonathon, who come to the United States from around the world to seek treatment.    

Dr. David will continue to utilize the Ponseti method to help newborn children in the years to come and hopes to make other practitioners more aware of this proven form of treatment.

To learn more about Dr. David and his practice of the Ponseti method, listen to the podcast “All About Clubfoot.”

If you or someone you know might benefit from more information about Dr. David’s treatment of clubfoot, contact us and make an appointment.