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Dr. John Herzenberg, an orthopedic surgeon at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, explains how invasive surgery used to be the gold standard for treatment of clubfoot, but now the conservative Ponseti Method is the treatment of choice. Every Friday, he runs a clubfoot clinic where babies’ legs are put in casts that week by week very gradually mold the babies’ legs into the correct position. The weekly casting treatment usually takes 10-12 weeks. Many babies will need a tenotomy, a cutting of the Achilles tendon, but this is a minor procedure that takes place in the clinic under local anesthesia. After that, the child will wear special shoes called boots that are connected by a bar to prevent relapse. For the most common type of clubfoot, he has a nearly one hundred percent success rate of taking babies’ very crooked feet and straightening them so that they grow up to be children able to walk, run and play sports.
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