Lockdown in South Africa means that parents and caregivers are home-based, with many unable to access treatment. Some clinics have suspended treatment. It is not always possible or safe to get transport to clinics that are still operational. Our guide for caregivers during lockdown:

1. Newly diagnosed patients

Casting will begin when the lockdown is over and clinics resume normal function. If patients need advice on clubfoot they can check the Steps website for information and call our office line 021 462 7357.

Helpful links and videos for more info:

About clubfoot
Clubfoot treatment
Ponseti for Parents’ checklist
Ponseti for Parents’ practical tips

The Ponseti method is still effective if done at a few months of age. Although early diagnosis and treatment is advised, during the COVID-10 lockdown it would be advisable to start the casting phase after the lockdown ends so there will be no interruptions in treatment.

The Steps clinic operational status list will be updated regularly, so you will know when normal clinic function resumes here.

2. Patients in casting stage

Some hospitals are continuing casting of patients to complete the treatment. However, if accessing the clinic is difficult or the family is self-isolating, the cast may be removed at home and treatment restarted when clinics are functioning as normal.

Trying to put the boots and bar on before the foot is fully corrected is not recommended and may create future difficulties with worsening deformity or poor compliance.

3. Tenotomy

Some hospitals and clinics may still be doing tenotomies. The tenotomy should only be done if there is a clubfoot brace available for fitting as soon as it removed. When the clinic re-opens or is operating as normal, additional casting can be done pre-tenotomy if this is necessary.

4. Fitting of Clubfoot Brace

The first fitting of the clubfoot brace should preferably be at a clinic appointment, and should be done immediately following removal of the tenotomy cast. Follow ups can be done either at the clinic, or on phone or FaceTime, depending on what is safe and possible. Troubleshooting and questions can be answered via WhatsApp or phone, and on our Facebook support group.

6. Patients in the bracing phase

No regular follow ups are being done at the clinics at the moment, to reduce clinic size. Anybody who is having a problem with the brace can contact a Steps clinic coordinator, or Steps on WhatsApp, landline, email, and the Steps Facebook support group. If you are a private patient in need of a bigger brace size, we have stock at Steps and can ship to you as we are registered as an essential services provider. Note that most braces are open-toe and can be worn even when the toes are past the edge of the shoe.

7. Surgery

All elective surgery has been postponed during the COVID-19 lockdown. Only emergency cases will be treated.

Contact information:
Email: info@steps.org.za
Phone: (021) 462 7357
Whatsapp: 078 563 0106
Facebook group ‘Clubfoot Support Steps South Africa’: https://www.facebook.com/groups/447293382055127/

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