#1 Ranked Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report
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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
At Boston Children's Hospital's Orthopedic Center, our specialists provide comprehensive treatment—including evaluation, diagnosis, consultation and follow-up care.
Parents and children can be very heartened to know that some of America’s finest athletes had clubfoot as children. These include Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez; pro soccer star Mia Hamm; Olympic skater Kristi Yamaguchi; and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.
Our standard of care for clubfoot is the “Ponseti” method, in which the foot is manipulated into correct position without joint surgery. Usually begun immediately after birth, the method involves:
• a two to three-month regimen of stretching/overstretching and repositioning using casts that get changed every
• for about 95 percent of babies, when the casting period is over, surgery (tenotomy) to release and lengthen the
Achilles heel; this procedure is performed at Children's usually under local anesthesia
• a bracing regimen (see description, next paragraph) that lasts for several years—a crucially important step,
requiring full family attention and compliance
Learn more about our care tips for cast maintenance.
Doctors at Boston Children's stress that the bracing component of the treatment for clubfoot is absolutely critical. The bracing program is full-time (about 22 hours a day) until the baby is about 6 months of age. At 6 months, we generally scale back to bracing just at night and at nap time—about 15 or 16 hours a day—and the baby goes without the brace while he's awake. When the baby is ready to learn how to crawl, and then walk, run and play, the brace is off.
Strictly following the bracing program until the child is about 4 years old (despite the understandable inconvenience) is the best prevention against recurrence and the need for further intervention.
At Boston Children's, we understand that a hospital visit can be difficult. So, we offer many amenities to make your child's—and your own—hospital experience as pleasant as possible. Visit the Hale Family Center for Families for all you need to know about:
• getting to Boston Children's
• navigating the hospital experience
• resources that are available for your family
In particular, we understand that you may have a lot of questions when your child is diagnosed with a clubfoot. Will my child need surgery? When will his foot be normal? Will it affect him long term? Children's can help you connect with extensive resources to help you and your family through this stressful time, including:
• patient education: From doctor's appointments to treatment to follow-up, our nurses and physical therapists
will be on hand to walk you through your child's diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.
• parent-to-parent: Want to talk with someone whose child has been treated for clubfoot? Our Orthopedic
Center can often put you in touch with other families who've been through the same experience that you and
your child are facing.
• faith-based support: If you're in need of spiritual support, we'll connect you with the Children's chaplaincy. Our
program includes nearly a dozen clergy—representing Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other faith
traditions—who will listen to you, pray with you and help you observe your own faith practices during your
• social work: Our social workers and mental health clinicians have helped many other families in your situation.
We can offer counseling and assistance with issues such as coping with your child's diagnosis, stresses relating
to coping with illness and dealing with financial issues.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”