World Clubfoot Day: History, Theme, and Significance

Saurav Singh

Every year, on the 3rd of June, the world comes together to observe World Clubfoot Day. This special day serves as a platform to unite individuals impacted by clubfoot, providing them with inspiration and encouragement. It also aims to raise awareness about this prevalent congenital disability.

Clubfoot occurs when a baby’s foot twists inward and downward during its development in the womb, affecting the formation of bones, ligaments, and muscles. The severity of clubfoot can vary, with some cases being mild while others are more severe. In the most severe instances, a baby’s foot may appear to be upside down. It is worth noting that both feet can be affected in over half of clubfoot cases. Each year, an alarming number of babies, approximately 200,000 worldwide, are born with clubfoot. This statistic highlights the widespread nature of clubfoot as one of the most common congenital disabilities globally.

World Clubfoot Day: History

World Clubfoot Day History World Clubfoot Day was established in 2013 by the Ponseti International Association (PIA). This significant date, June 3rd, was chosen to honor the birthday of Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, the orthopedist credited with developing the Ponseti method.

World Clubfoot Day: Celebration

How to Observe World Clubfoot Day World Clubfoot Day brings forth various events that facilitate the gathering of families affected by clubfoot. These events serve as a platform for connection, support, and sharing experiences. Moreover, numerous hospitals, foot and ankle specialists, and healthcare organizations organize educational seminars and presentations. To actively participate:

  1. If you or a family member has experienced clubfoot, share your story on social media.
  2. Explore the stories of famous individuals who were born with clubfeet, such as Dudley Moore, Troy Aikman, and Kristi Yamaguchi.
  3. Make a donation to organizations like Hope Walks or others that offer clubfoot treatment in low-income countries.
  4. Raise awareness about World Clubfoot Day on social media using the hashtag #WorldClubfootDay.

Impact of Clubfoot

Clubfoot can give rise to a range of complications if it left untreated. These complications include arthritis and difficulties in walking normally. Children with clubfoot may also experience challenges related to self-image. To prevent such complications, treatment usually begins promptly after birth.

The Ponseti method stands as one of the most effective treatments for clubfoot. This method involves placing a cast on the foot to maintain a specific position. Weekly repositioning and recasting are performed over several months. Toward the end of the treatment process, minor surgery is conducted to lengthen the Achilles tendon. Following this, the child wears specialized shoes and braces for up to three years until the foot is fully corrected. However, if the Ponseti method proves ineffective, a more invasive surgical procedure may be necessary.

The treatment provides the opportunity for children born with clubfoot to lead active lives. Unfortunately, many children worldwide lack access to clubfoot treatment. In certain countries, children with untreated clubfoot face exclusion from society, hindering their education and employment prospects. Additionally, communities may unjustly stigmatize mothers, holding them responsible for their child’s deformity.