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10/18/2010

One year ago: Dr. Ignacio Ponseti

October 18, 2010 |  6:00 am

Ponseti An estimated 200,000 infants worldwide are born each year with clubfoot, in which a tight, deformed Achilles' tendon causes the foot to turn downward or sideways.

Dr. Ignacio Ponseti created a way to treat clubfoot without surgery, changing thousands of children's lives.

Ponseti would gently stretch and tug a child's foot into a closer approximation of the correct position, then place it in a toe-to-groin cast. The process would be repeated weekly for three to five weeks. Then, the child would be fitted with a brace that he or she -- girls are twice as likely to suffer the problem -- would wear 23 hours a day for three months. After that, the brace would be worn only at night and during naps for three more years.

By age 4, the clubfoot would be corrected.

Ponseti died a year ago at age 95. Read more about his work in The Times' obituary.

-- Times staff writer

Photo: Dr. Ignacio Ponseti is 1943. Credit: University of Iowa

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