A clubfoot is a complex foot deformity present at birth. The name of this foot has it origin in the shape, because the foot looks like a golf club. It occurs in 1 out of every 1000 children. Treatment of this deformity starts directly after birth. The foot is manually manipulated in a slightly better position. After each manipulation session, the improvement is maintained by immobilizing the foot in a plaster cast for five to seven days.
The cast comprises both the lower and upper leg, while the knee is flexed. In this way sliding or kicking the cast downwards will be prevented. This procedure is repeated five or six times. For this treatment the patient and his or her parents have to visit the hospital every week. The correction of a clubfoot is a dynamic process. Little by little the foot must be forced in a different position. The present treatment method, however, is a static process. When a new position is forced, this position is maintained for a week. During this week hardly any improvement is achieved. So the plaster cast only prevents that the deformation falls back, further correction is not realized. Also the cosmetics and comfort of the plaster cast is far from optimal. For instance, taking a bath is not possible.
The aim of this project:
1. to develop a method to measure the forces which are applied by the orthosis. The system will measure and display forces at the moment of application.
2. additionally, measurements are taken at regular intervals during usage of the orthosis, to store data, a wireless app or ambulant data logger will be developed.
3. to develop an orthosis that can realize the corrections by applying a constant force.
4. to test the system during application of the orthosis.