More than 30 children born with clubfoot, accompanied by their parents, celebrated World Clubfoot Day at the Museo Pambata in Manila on June 8, 2024.

Clubfoot is one of the most common birth defects and a main cause of physical disability globally. In the Philippines, clubfoot affects more than 2,700 children yearly.

“There is one Filipino baby born with clubfoot every three hours,” said Chi Laigo Vallido, Executive Director of Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC). “But our data shows that 70 percent of children with clubfoot remain untreated event if clubfoot can be corrected.”

PNGOC is an NGO facilitating the free treatment of clubfoot in 33 clinics all over the country through the support of MiracleFeet, a US-based foundation. MiracleFeet supports clubfoot treatment in 38 low and middle income countries around the world.

According to MiracleFeet, there are 9.8 million people alive today who were born with clubfoot, and of those, 7.8 million live with disability due to lack of access to proper treatment.

With proper treatment, more than 95% can achieve full correction and mobility. Without it, persons with clubfoot will grow up with disability for the rest of their lives. They will be unable to wear normal footwear and will experience restricted movements that impacts the individual’s capacity for a better quality of life.

Clubfoot is correctable with the Ponseti method, a procedure named after Dr. Ignatio Ponseti, who developed the technique after decades of treating clubfoot. The Ponseti method is a highly effective, innovative medical intervention that results in complete correction of clubfoot and full functionality in nearly all cases.

“But treatment of clubfoot is time-sensitive, and early diagnosis is advisable so that the health provider, trained using Ponseti can assess the case and suggest a treatment plan.” Vallido said. “Success of the treatment is the commitment of the families. Maintenance using special shoes and brace can take up to five years. But, when initiated during infancy, the clubfoot is usually corrected within six to eight weeks.”