A lot of work goes into successful clubfoot treatment, from identification to casting to the tenotomy, but the stage of treatment most likely to determine long-term success is bracing. A key part of the Ponseti Method, children wear an abduction brace consisting of shoes and a bar which maintain the feet in the proper position as they grow. What makes this phase the trickiest? Let’s break it down.
Half of children in treatment do not wear their brace as prescribed, which often results in relapse. In addition, most braces are either high quality but unaffordable ($200 – $1,000) or inexpensive but hard to use and uncomfortable for the child. ($8 – $40). Since braces are worn for up to four years after the completion of active treatment, and so critical to long-term treatment outcomes, MiracleFeet began to envision a solution to this problem.
MiracleFeet recognized that there was a need to fill when it came to clubfoot braces. In 2013 we set out to design a brace that would be affordable, easy to use, and durable. We collaborated with Mike North of ReAllocate to find a design that would work well in low- and middle-income countries.
MiracleFeet then partnered with the Stanford d.school’s Extreme Affordability course to work on executing the design we had envisioned with Mike. Students Michael Ahdoot, Ian Connolly, Katie Jaxheimer and Jeffrey Yang worked with Dr. Laura Ferreira’s team at the Hospital Universitario of the University of Sao Paulo. Through this two-year process, MiracleFeet secured valuable partnerships with Suncast and Clarks, two organizations that donated hundreds of hours of expertise to the project.
In 2015, we sent our first major shipment out into the clubfoot world. The end product achieved our initial vision: ease of use for the parent, comfort for the child, and improved treatment outcomes for clinicians. The heel of the brace clips on and off easily, the shoes are comfortable, and the bar is easily adjustable.
Providers and families alike are extremely satisfied with the MiracleFeet brace and early reports from clinical studies show that it is at least as effective as currently-available models.
Laureate at The Tech Awards in the Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator category
The Global Health and Innovation Conference (GHIC) Prize at the Unite for Sight Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University
USAID DIV award for rollout and testing
Silver Award in the category of Health and Wellness at the Edison Awards
Fast Company Innovation by Design finalist
Jeff Yang and Ian Connolly win at Switchpoint Student Silo Busters Contest with the MiracleFeet brace
Brace featured on Wired.com
Brace featured in The New York Times
Brace featured on “The Big Idea” on MSNBC
Note: At this time, MiracleFeet focuses exclusively on bringing clubfoot treatment to low and middle income countries where access to proper treatment is difficult. The MiracleFeet brace was developed to fulfill an urgent need in select countries for a low-cost bracing solution. The brace is currently undergoing testing and although this may change in the future, we are currently unable to offer it for purchase in the US due to liability, availability, and cost.