World Clubfoot Day was on June 3 – a day to raise awareness of clubfoot, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and an opportunity to highlight the importance of early detection, referral, and timely treatment. Additionally, this day celebrates the successes of those who have received and provided treatment.
Clubfoot is one of the most common birth defects and a major cause of physical disability globally. The majority of cases are diagnosed at birth and occur in otherwise healthy babies. Clubfoot is easily identifiable by the way the feet face inward and upward. Left untreated, this disability makes walking extremely difficult and painful. A condition that will limit children with clubfoot from living fully functional, productive lives and reaching their full potential as adults.
There are 9.8 million people alive today who were born with clubfoot, and of those 7.8 million live with disability due to lack of access to proper treatment. Annually an estimated 200,000 children (or 1 in 700 births) on the planet are born with clubfoot. With proper treatment, more than 95% can achieve full correction and mobility. Without treatment, children live with a severe impairment and endure a lifetime of negative health, social, and economic consequences.
MiracleFeet is the largest global organization solely dedicated to clubfoot treatment. In Philippines, 5-6 children are born with clubfoot each day. The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, Inc. (PNGOC) is the MiracleFeet partner responsible for collaborating with local healthcare providers in the Philippines as well as with the Department of Health to deliver high-quality and free treatment of clubfoot in 29 hospitals nationwide through the support of MiracleFeet. Over time, the goal is for treatment to be integrated into the public health system. In the Philippines, certain aspects of the treatment of clubfoot is already included in the Z Benefit Package of PhilHealth.
Clubfoot is correctable with the Ponseti method–a highly effective, innovative medical intervention that results in complete correction of clubfoot and full functionality in nearly all cases. Treatment involves a series of weekly casts to gently reposition the feet and a simple outpatient procedure to release the Achilles tendon, followed by use of a foot abduction brace, worn for 4-5 years while sleeping to maintain the correction and reduce the chance of relapse. When initiated during infancy, the position of the foot is usually corrected within six to eight weeks.