Treating clubfoot with Walk for Life

Posted on November 14, 2017

young boy kicking a ballFahim is from a very poor island on the Ganges Delta called Bhola, which means ‘forgotten place’. Fahim was born with bilateral clubfoot – both his feet were turned inward. The island lacks medical facilities, and patients need to travel to the mainland to visit a hospital. Unfortunately, many can’t even afford the boat fare.

Clubfoot Stigmatised

In Bangladesh clubfoot is, unfortunately, very common. More than 4,000 babies every year are born with this condition. Without treatment, children born with clubfoot face not only discomfort but exclusion and stigma as well. The view of people living with clubfoot means they will have a much more difficult time fitting into society. It is difficult for them to go to school, find jobs, even to get married.

Fahim’s mother was humiliated by her community. In this area, many people believe clubfoot is caused by evil spirits or is punishment for the mother’s misdeeds. Fahim’s mother attempted traditional cures that didn’t work, until a doctor referred Fahim to Walk for Life. At just one month old, Fahim began treatment using the Ponseti method. This method involves gentle manipulation, casting and bracing to progressively correct the feet.

What We Do

Though this condition is treated at a fairly low cost and without surgery, there are still thousands that go untreated. 80% of cases of clubfoot occur in low and middle income countries. With our help, and that of the Glencoe Foundation, Walk for Life has treated 13,716 babies since their start in 2009. They are also working to educate more doctors on the best treatment for clubfoot, the Ponseti method.

Fahim’s feet were corrected after five consecutive castings. He now wears braces and has a much brighter future. “Walk for Life showed me the way of dreaming,” said Fahim’s mother. “God willing, one day my son will be a doctor.”