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Iowa Orthop J. 2000;20:59-64.

Treatment of idiopathic clubfoot: an historical review.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA.


Idiopathic clubfoot, one of the most common problems in pediatric orthopaedics, is characterized by a complex three-dimensional deformity of the foot. The treatment of clubfoot is controversial and continues to be one of the biggest challenges in pediatric orthopaedics. This controversy is due in part to the difficulty in measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of different treatment methods. We believe the heart of the debate is a lack of understanding of the functional anatomy of the deformity, the biological response of young connective tissue to injury and repair, and their combined effect on the long-term treatment outcomes. The aim of this review is not only to assess the different methods of clubfoot treatment used over the years in light of an evolving understanding of the pathoanatomy of the deformity, but to also clarify factors that allow a safe, logical approach to clubfoot management. Further research will be needed to fully understand the pathogenesis of clubfoot, as well as the long-term results and quality of life for the treated foot.

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