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Bone Joint J. 2019 Jun;101-B(6):639-645. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.101B6.BJJ-2018-1421.R1.

Congenital talipes equinovarus: a systematic review of relapse as a primary outcome of the Ponseti method.

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Trauma and Orthopaedic Department, St George's Hospital, St George's University of London, London, UK.
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
St. Richard's Hospital, Chichester, UK.
University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.
Paediatric Orthopaedics, University College London, London, UK.



The Ponseti method is the benchmark treatment for the correction of clubfoot. The primary rate of correction is very high, but outcome further down the treatment pathway is less predictable. Several methods of assessing severity at presentation have been reported. Classification later in the course of treatment is more challenging. This systematic review considers the outcome of the Ponseti method in terms of relapse and determines how clubfoot is assessed at presentation, correction, and relapse.


A prospectively registered systematic review was carried out according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Studies that reported idiopathic clubfoot treated by the Ponseti method between 1 January 2012 and 31 May 2017 were included. The data extracted included demographics, Ponseti methodology, assessment methods, and rates of relapse and surgery.


A total of 84 studies were included (7335 patients, 10 535 clubfeet). The relapse rate varied between 1.9% and 45%. The rates of relapse and major surgery (1.4% to 53.3%) and minor surgery (0.6% to 48.8%) both increased with follow-up time. There was high variability in the assessment methods used across timepoints; only 57% of the studies defined relapse. Pirani scoring was the method most often used.


Recurrence and further surgical intervention in idiopathic clubfoot increases with the duration of follow-up. The corrected and the relapsed foot are poorly defined, which contributes to variability in outcome. The results suggest that a consensus for a definition of relapse is needed. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:639-645.


CTEV; Clubfoot; Outcomes; Relapse; Surgery

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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