Successful Ponseti-treated Clubfeet at Age 2 Years: What Is the Rate of Surgical Intervention after This?

Matthew J. Siebert, Chelsea M. Karacz, B. Stephens Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background:In recent decades, nonoperative Ponseti casting has become the standard of care in the treatment of idiopathic clubfoot. However, the rate of recurrence, even after successful Ponseti treatment is not insignificant. The purpose of this study was to determine the future rate, timing, and type of surgery needed in patients whose idiopathic clubfeet treated by Ponseti casting were considered successful at the age of 2 years.Methods:Inclusion criteria for this retrospective study were patients under 3 months with idiopathic clubfoot treated exclusively by Ponseti casting, who had successful outcomes at 2 years of age without surgery, and who had at least 5 years of follow-up. The total number of surgical interventions in the age range 2 to 5 and above 5 years, the number and type of procedures performed, and the timing of surgery were reviewed.Results:Three hundred thirty-six patients with a total of 504 clubfeet fulfilled the inclusion criteria. One hundred twenty-two of these 336 patients (36.3%) eventually underwent surgical intervention. Between 2 and 5 years of age, 79 patients (23.5%) with 104 feet (20.6%) underwent surgery. The most common procedures performed between 2 and 5 years were limited (a la carte) in scope: tibialis anterior tendon transfer, posterior release, plantar fascia release, and repeat tendo-Achilles lengthening. At age above 5 years, 53 patients (20.1%) with 65 feet (16.9%) underwent surgery. Ten of these 53 patients had already undergone surgery between 2 and 5 years of age. The procedures most commonly performed were similar.Conclusions:In patients with idiopathic clubfoot who reached 2 years of age with successful outcomes from Ponseti cast treatment, ∼35% eventually underwent surgical intervention, mostly limited (a la carte), to regain or maintain a plantigrade foot. The most commonly performed procedures include tibialis anterior tendon transfer, posterior capsular release, plantar fascia release and repeat tendo-Achilles lengthening, either in isolation or in combination. However, before considering surgery, the need for these procedures can, and should, be minimized by recasting recurrent deformities using Ponseti method.Level of Evidence:Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-603
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Ponseti
  • clubfoot
  • limited surgery
  • recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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