Clubfoot is a treatable birth defect. Early detection and treatment is essential to prevent the child growing up with a disability. Children with untreated clubfoot cannot wear shoes or walk properly. There is a solution with the Ponseti Method that is the globally recognised best practice and offered at the Tygerberg Hospital Clubfoot clinic.
The Ponseti method is in two phases.
The correction phase requires weekly clinic visits for one to two months, followed by the maintenance phase which requires the patient to wear a brace at night to maintain the correction and prevent recurrence until age four.
The first phase can be a challenge to families with limited means or living far from clinics as it usually requires between four and eight clinic visits. This means transport costs and taking time off work for the appointment. The second phase is primarily the responsibility of parents and caregivers and they need support and encouragement to keep going for the four years until the end of treatment.
The partnership between clinics and Steps Charity significantly helps to increase adherence to the four year treatment, with in-clinic patient-centred support provided from Steps such as parent education, take home leaflets and educational videos.
Sherwin Tromp, a four year old born with bilateral clubfoot who lives an hour away from the clubfoot clinic, is celebrating his graduation from treatment at Tygerberg Hospital.
His mother Valerie says, “I found out that my son had clubfoot at my scan. I had heard of it as my friend’s son had been born with it a few years before. When I was pregnant, they made an appointment for me to come to the Tygerberg clubfoot clinic after my son was born. So, I came with my son when he was 2 weeks old. The first appointment was good, I was told everything about clubfoot and how it would be corrected. It was not scary, everyone makes you feel welcome and helps you through it, even the other mums. We appreciate everything that the clubfoot clinic has done for our child, we are so thankful. If it was not for the clubfoot clinic we honestly do not know what we would have done.
Sherwin recently received his graduation certificate from Steps when he came to his appointment when he was released from the bracing routine. This special moment marks an important milestone that is a testament to Sherwin and his family’s dedicated commitment to completing the four year maintenance phase of night time brace wear.
Proud mom Valerie’s advice to other families, “Make sure that you take your child to the clubfoot clinic, you will be thankful like our family. I spread the word and have given the number to many people in my community.”
Stepping up to donate monthly to clubfoot support means that Steps can give children the encouragement and tools they need to complete the four treatment plan and achieve full mobility. Clubfoot support changes the trajectory of a child’s life.