Gait analysis of children treated for clubfoot with physical therapy or the Ponseti cast technique.

El-Hawary R, Karol LA, Jeans KA, Richards BS

The objective of this study was to evaluate the function of children treated with the Ponseti cast technique and the French functional physical therapy program. Gait analysis was performed on 105 patients (fifty-six treated with casts and forty-nine treated with physical therapy) with 154 involved feet (seventy-nine treated with casts and seventy-five treated with physical therapy). While the rate of normal kinematic ankle motion in the sagittal plane was 65% in the group treated with physical therapy, the gait abnormalities that were seen in that group were characterized by mild equinus and/or footdrop. The rate of normal kinematic ankle motion in the sagittal plane was 47% in the cast-treatment group, but the most common gait abnormality in this group was mildly increased dorsiflexion in the stance phase.

The differences between the physical therapy and cast-treatment groups may, in part, be the result of the percutaneous Achilles tendon lengthening that is performed as part of the Ponseti cast technique but not as part of the physical therapy program.

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, 2008, 90(7), 1508-16

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