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Release: Oct. 31, 2001

'Ponseti method' information now available online in Spanish

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Users of the World Wide Web can now obtain information about the non-surgical treatment of clubfoot in Spanish on the University of Iowa Health Care online site.

Information about the non-surgical treatment of clubfeet was previously available in English. The URL address for the Spanish translation is http://www/vh.org/Patients/IHB/Ortho/Peds/Clubfeet/Espanol.html. Jose Morcuende, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UI department of orthopaedic surgery, worked on the translation project with Ignacio Ponseti, M.D., UI professor emeritus of orthopaedic surgery and the founder and namesake of the non-surgical clubfoot treatment method.

The "Ponseti method" uses manual manipulations and casting instead of the medical establishment's longstanding practice of surgically correcting babies born with clubfoot. Clubfoot is the most common birth defect of the lower extremities. The disorder involves the inward and downward turning of one foot or both feet.

Ponseti, 87, a native of Spain, treated hundreds of soldiers with orthopaedic wounds during the Spanish Civil War. After the war he came to the United States and studied under Arthur Steindler, M.D., who chaired the UI department of orthopaedics.

During the 1950s, Ponseti took special interest in children with clubfoot and developed the "Ponseti method." His studies helped define the basic nature of clubfoot and demonstrated the steps to follow to achieve a successful non-surgical correction of the deformity.

Research shows that children born with clubfoot who are treated surgically very often are left with pain and stiffness in their feet and ankles later in life. In contrast, studies found that children treated with the "Ponseti method" typically have normal foot and ankle function.

Although only a handful of orthopaedic surgeons (among them Morcuende, Frederick Dietz, M.D. and Stuart Weinstein, M.D., of UI Health Care) used his relatively simple method in recent years, the pendulum has begun to swing as public and professional awareness has grown. Today, more and more orthopaedic surgeons worldwide are recognizing the "Ponseti method" as the proper, safe way to correct the deformity.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.