Project 5

Club foot orthosis

People:
Bob Giesberts (PhD researcher)
Bart Verkerke (Prof, UT + RUG)
Edsko Hekman (Technical supervisor, UT)
Patrick Maathuis (Medical supervisor, UMCG)

Sponsors:
Baat Medical
Orthin

Brief summary:
Clubfoot is the most common congenital disease affecting the lower leg of the child. It happens to about 1 per 1000 people. For most cases the cause is unknown but it is well treated with the Ponseti method. In this method the clubfoot is manipulated into a slightly corrected position and fixated with plaster cast for one week. During this week the foot gradually adapts to the new position. This is repeated 5 – 8 times until the foot is fully corrected. After this casting period the child has to wear a brace at night for about four years to prevent relapse.
Although this method is very effective (most studies report a success rate over 95%) there are some disadvantages to the treatment method. Because the plaster cast reaches from toe to diaper, maintaining hygiene can be difficult. Additionally normal movement of the knees is not possible.
To overcome these problems the goal of current project is to develop a dynamic brace that adapts to the changing position of the foot. This brace allows knee movement while maintaining the corrected position of the foot and it can be taken off for a moment to allow parents to bath their child.