By Ms. Favour Egwumba.
THE MIRACLE OF PONSETTI
In the spirit of Christmas, we would be looking at a few lessons from the life and times of Ignacio Ponseti, the man behind the Ponseti method of Clubfoot treatment that has changed the course of Clubfoot care and put smiles on the faces of many.
As a mother once said, “It is simply a life-changing treatment.”
- Lesson Number One
There is always a problem to be solved if we looked closely.
In 1921, Dr. Arthur Steindler of the University of Iowa developed a surgery to correct Clubfoot defect. When Ponseti joined the staff 20 years later, Steindler asked him to review the procedure. Ponseti concluded that the surgery often left patients with stiff ankles and a limp, and he began looking for better ways to correct the condition.
- Lesson Number Two
Embrace simple methods to solving solutions.
“Physicians have been doing manipulation for clubfoot since Hippocrates, but they did not know how the joints moved,” Ponseti said two years after. “They just tried to smash the bones into position. You have to be able to feel every one of the bones with your hands. It’s a little bit like playing the piano.”
- Lesson Number Three
It takes patience and consistency to see solutions bring results.
For instance, when a child first visited him, Ponseti would gently stretch and tug the foot into a closer approximation of the correct position, then place it in a toe-to-groin cast to hold it in place. The process would be repeated weekly for three to five weeks. Then, the child would be fitted with a brace that he or she would wear 23 hours a day for three months. After that, the brace would be worn only at night and during naps for three more years.
- Lesson Number Four
There is always someone out there looking for a solution that you have created. Help make sure they can find you.
Martin and Alison Egbert lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1999 they had a son, Josh, who was born with clubfeet. After much research and travel, Martin and Alison brought their son to Iowa City to be treated by Dr. Ponseti but Martin and Alison did not stop with the treatment of their son. They, along with other parents, started websites to proclaim this revolutionary non-surgical Ponseti Method of treatment. It is very interesting that lay-parents like Martin and Alison recognized the value of the Ponseti Method before it was accepted by most professional physicians.
- Lesson Number Five
The world might not be ready to accept you but keep on driving. Don’t be afraid of change.
Dr Ponsetti had written a paper to give the medical world a heads-up on a non-surgical procedure to treating clubfoot but no one was ready for it. Many years later, it has become the world’s most renowned method of treating Clubfoot.