Worldwide, including Tanzania, clubfoot occurs in one of 800 newborns.
Treatment methods have changed significantly over the past 20 years.
The infant’s foot is soft and malleable and can therefore be treated early, ie. in the first few weeks of life, using remodelling plasters.
After about five plaster treatments, during which the newborn foot is carefully brought into the correct position, the congenital foot malposition can be corrected within about three years with subsequent splint treatment.
In case of children or adolescents who were not lucky enough to be treated in time, an invasive foot operation must, unfortunately, be carried out at a later time.
In this procedure, bones, connective tissue, and tendons are operated on.
Today, these operations are only rarely used in the northern hemisphere.
In Tanzania and in many parts of Africa, on the other hand, there is almost no knowledge about the harmless early plaster treatment.
As a result, these children, adolescents, and adults suffer from a severe walking disability throughout their lives. Our clubfoot team operates on these older children during a two-week voluntary and unpaid stay at a hospital in southern Tanzania..
At regular intervals, every one to two years, 25 to 40 patients are then treated surgically. Local doctors are also trained in this therapy.
The cast treatment of infants has become firmly established in the entire region of southern Tanzania.
We have also trained several physiotherapists in the care of infant clubfeet.
Traditional healers and midwives have also been made aware of this early treatment option.