Ponseti's Treatment for Congenital Clubfoot (1963)
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In 1963, Ignacio Ponseti and Eugene Smoley experimentally determined an effective and minimally invasive method of treating congenital clubfoot. Congenital clubfoot is a disorder in which a newborn’s foot is rigidly turned inwards and upwards. During the early 1960s, orthopedists often relied on invasive surgical procedures to treat clubfoot. In Ponseti and Smoley’s experiment, Ponseti and Smoley had a team of physicians treat patients with clubfoot using the Ponseti method, which consisted of manually manipulating each patient’s foot into a more desirable position and subsequently casting each foot to heal in place. After following up with the patients for several years, Ponseti and Smoley concluded that the Ponseti method is an effective alternative to the more invasive surgical procedures that orthopedists had often relied on. Ponseti and Smoley provided physicians with a novel and minimally invasive method of correcting foot deformities to ensure that developing infants maintain healthy feet.