June 3 is

World Clubfoot Day

Health care is a human right

2 million children

live with the pain and stigma of untreated clubfoot, a condition that affects at least 1 in 700 globally.

MiracleFeet is on a mission to create universal access to treatment for this leading cause of physical disability worldwide. We partner with local health workers and organizations to bring the low-cost solution to children who need it today and for generations. Less than $500 can cover the cost of treatment for one child.

80,093 lives transformed
340 clinics
36 countries
2021-11-04 - O_Castellanos 7Z5A0331
2022-09-05 - Tommy Trenchard DSC_9658
MiracleFeet Featured in BBC News
Every year 200,000 babies are born with clubfoot and, of the nearly 10 million people alive today who were born with it, as many as eight million have never received treatment. In late 2022, BBC reporters visited Senegal to hear directly from patients and families searching for clubfoot care. This article details the emotional stories they encountered as well as the passion they witnessed from MiracleFeet partners, providers, and ambassadors.
PAHO and MiracleFeet partner to launch a free virtual course for health workers on clubfoot
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO’s regional office of the Americas, and MiracleFeet just launched an open access virtual course on clubfoot highlighting the importance of early identification, the surprisingly high prevalence, and impact of untreated clubfoot – a major cause of disability worldwide. This course, available in English and Spanish, is aimed primary at frontline health workers and includes a close look at clubfoot—the most common congenital cause of physical disability worldwide affecting an estimated 200,000 babies every year. The course presents essential information on the non-surgical, low cost, and extremely effective Ponseti method, the orthopedic treatment standard. “This course is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness and promote the integration of early detection and referral into healthcare systems,” says Daphne Sorensen, CEO of MiracleFeet, “so that every baby born with clubfoot starts treatment early, ideally within in the first few weeks of life.” Dr. Betzabé Butrón Riveros, Regional Advisor on Child Health at PAHO adds, “when we recognize and address clubfoot we can change an entire life in a matter of weeks. We cannot leave these children behind.” The self-directed and self-paced virtual course includes four modules and four key learning outcomes. Modules and learning outcomes Modules What is clubfoot? The case for treating clubfoot Clubfoot treatment The role of the health worker Learning outcomes Familiarity with the characteristics of clubfoot and other common birth impairments Knowledge of the Ponseti method—a simple, low-cost technique—and how it can be used to effectively treat clubfoot Understanding of the importance of early detection and referral and the role healthcare workers play in examining children for birth impairments Reflect on community perceptions of birth impairments and learn through examples how to communicate with families in a supportive and encouraging way, avoiding stigma and misinformation. Through this course, MiracleFeet and PAHO are working together to support regional and country level actions to prevent the life-long disability caused by untreated clubfoot. This partnership signals deserved recognition in awareness raising for clubfoot and the need for expanded access to its low-cost treatment. “Early detection and referral of children with conditions like clubfoot is crucial to help them access the rehabilitation they need when it can help the most,” says Antony Duttine, Regional Advisor, Disability and Rehabilitation at PAHO. “Early childhood development is critically linked to lifetime outcomes. Access to services improves a child’s ability to learn and play from infancy, and generates greater gains throughout their lives, compared to deferred intervention.” Increasing early access to clubfoot treatment will transform many young futures, especially in low- and middle-income countries where four out of five children do not have access to care. The course also aligns to the Sustainable Development Goal #3 and with PAHO’s commitment to improve children’s health and quality of life. Training healthcare workers to identify and refer clubfoot cases means more children will have access to not only mobility, but also independence, education, and employment opportunities. “When we recognize and address clubfoot we can change an entire life in a matter of weeks. We cannot leave these children behind.”Dr. Betzabé Butrón Riveros The course is free and available at the Virtual Campus for Public Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a network of people, institutions and organizations who have been sharing public health courses, resources, and information since 2008.  With 1.7 million users, participants who review the educational material, pass the evaluations, and answer the Virtual Campus quality survey can download the certificate of participation and approval issued by PAHO. “Building awareness of clubfoot and other birth impairments within the Americas will lead to more babies being referred for treatment, and more children accessing the rehabilitative care which is their right,” says Anna Cuthel, MiracleFeet’s Technical Director.   More from MiracleFeet Love Prevails: A World Clubfoot Day Story from Cambodia Sandra and Bailley: How Far a Mother Will Walk so Her Son Can Too Tragedy gives way to hope for Jonathan and his family in Sierra Leone Honoring Zimbabwe’s First Female Orthopedic Surgeon on International Women’s Day
Love Prevails: A World Clubfoot Day Story from Cambodia
When Svay Neoung, now 69-years-old, gave birth to a daughter with clubfoot, it came as a severe shock. It was 1991, and especially in rural Cambodia, there was very little awareness of clubfoot. Svay gave birth at home, and the midwife who helped with the delivery had no more idea of how to treat the baby’s feet than she did.   “Nobody knew what to do about it,” Svay says sitting in the shade of her family’s farmhouse in Prey Veng province, watching chickens peck at seeds in the sand. “At that time, doctors were scarce.”  Svay’s husband fashioned a rudimentary foot abduction brace out of bamboo for their daughter, Sarom, but she cried so much that the couple removed it after only a few days. That’s when they resigned themselves to the fact that she would have her deformity for life.   Now 32, Sarom walks with a severe limp, her left foot twisted sharply in at the ankle. She has learned to live with her condition, but it hasn’t been easy. Growing up, she was taunted by her classmates at school. Travelling has always been extremely difficult. And, whenever the rest of her family goes out to work in their fields, she waits behind at home unable to walk the uneven terrain of the rice paddies.   Sarom and her mother, Svay, serving lunch at their home in Prey Veng. Sarom, 32. Sarom’s feet today, walking with untreated unilateral clubfoot. So when, in 2020, six months pregnant, she found out during a pre-natal scan that her own son would also be born with clubfoot, her initial reaction was despair.   “I was devastated,” she admits. “As a mother, it was a feeling I can’t describe…I knew if I couldn’t find him treatment, he’d never be able to walk.” Worse, the scans showed that, unlike her own case, her baby’s clubfoot affected both of his feet. It was Sarom’s husband who reassured her that everything would be alright. He promised her that together they’d find their son, Phat, the treatment he needed. Over the next few months, he remained Sarom’s rock as they searched for care. His unconditional support was something Sarom never dreamed she would experience.  Love Finds A Way    Growing up all too aware of the stigma that surrounded her condition, Sarom had assumed she would never find love. Then an extraordinary series of events took place that changed her life forever.  Celebrate World Clubfoot Day by supporting our work. Give Today One day in her late teens, she received a phone call from a stranger in another province. He had been trying to phone someone else but dialed the wrong number by mistake. For some reason she can’t quite explain, she didn’t hang up the phone. And neither did he. They started chatting. A second call followed a few days later, and then a third. They connected in a way neither could explain, and the connection kept growing. They exchanged all kinds of stories and information about themselves, but one thing Sarom kept secret: her clubfoot. Fast forward a few years and hundreds of phone calls later, Sarom finally summoned the courage to tell him.  “I have a disability,” she explained one evening on the phone. “I know you won’t want to love me once you’ve seen me.” She expected him to end the relationship, but he didn’t.   “It doesn’t matter what kind of disability you have,” he replied. “I love you.”  Five years after their first accidental contact, the couple met face-to-face for the first time and were married soon after.  Love is Powerful   In the weeks after the birth of their son, the family sought treatment at a local clinic. Thankfully, clubfoot treatment had expanded hugely in Cambodia since the days when Sarom’s parents constructed her bamboo brace. But the process got off to a rocky start when the doctors told them they were unable to treat such a severe case. They referred the couple to the National Pediatric Hospital in the capital, Phnom Penh, where MiracleFeet’s partner organization, NextSteps, was offering weekly clubfoot clinics.  From then on, things began to improve. The doctors immediately began treating Phat with the Ponseti method, using plaster casts to straighten his feet. Within weeks they could see progress, and by the time the doctors performed tenotomies, Sarom began to believe that her son might be able to live a normal life after all.  “I was so relieved,” she says. “I never thought his feet could be completely straight.”  Now approaching his third birthday, Phat is a lively, active toddler who his mother loving describes as “a fireball.”  “He’s very active and very outgoing,” she says. “He loves to play. He loves to explore new things, and he’s always getting up to mischief! He can do exactly the same things as any other kid.”  For a child of his age, the family’s farmyard with its stilt houses, bamboo thickets, and wandering animals is a playground of endless possibilities. While his mother talks, Phat entertains himself, kicking around a football, playing with his much-loved set of toy cars, and clambering on top of a haystack. At night, Sarom makes sure he wears a MiracleFeet brace to prevent relapse. And she’s starting to think optimistically about his future.  “I just want him to get a good education,” said Sarom, who wasn’t able to finish school herself. “Then I’m confident he’ll have a good life.”  Reflecting on their treatment journey, she admits it wasn’t always easy. Aside from the emotional challenges associated with addressing her son’s birth defect, the weekly trips to the clinic in Phnom Penh were a significant burden on the family’s finances. And there was the fear that treatment wouldn’t work, and the worry that Phat would have to live with his condition for life.   “It was so important that I had my husband when we were going through it all,” shares Sarom, leafing through a photo album from the couple’s wedding day. “I couldn’t have done this without him. I believe that fate brought us together.” Love is… ensuring a bright future for every child. Transform a young life forever, today.  Donate More Stories from MiracleFeet Love Prevails: A World Clubfoot Day Story from Cambodia Sandra and Bailley: How Far a Mother Will Walk so Her Son Can Too Tragedy gives way to hope for Jonathan and his family in Sierra Leone Honoring Zimbabwe’s First Female Orthopedic Surgeon on International Women’s Day

You can help a child thrive.

Donate Now