The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-7123

Release: Sept. 26, 2001

UI Health Care honors clubfoot treatment pioneer Ignacio Ponseti

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A subspecialty orthopaedic clinic that serves infants with clubfoot at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is being named in honor of Ignacio Ponseti, M.D.

The Ponseti Clubfoot Treatment Center, located within the Reginald R. Cooper Orthopaedic Surgery Clinic, will be dedicated during public ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28 on the lower level of the Pappajohn Pavilion. The ceremonies will include a brief presentation by R. Edward Howell, director and CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The 87-year-old Ponseti -- who perfected a nonsurgical method of treating infants with clubfoot -- is also being honored during the Orthopaedic Alumni meeting the same day.

The "Ponseti method" uses manipulations and casting as opposed to the medical establishment's longstanding practice of surgically correcting babies born with clubfoot.

Ponseti, a native of Spain, became a Spanish army volunteer at a young age, treating hundreds of orthopaedic wounds during the Spanish Civil War. After the war he came to the United States and studied under Dr. Arthur Steindler, who chaired the UI department of orthopaedics at that time.

During the 1950s Ponseti took special interest in children with clubfoot and developed the "Ponseti method." His studies helped define the basic nature of clubfoot and demonstrated the steps to follow to achieve a successful nonsurgical correction of the deformity. Patient studies quoted in Ponseti's book, "Congenital Clubfoot: Fundamentals of Treatment," (Oxford University Press, 1996) confirm the success of his approach.

Although only a handful of orthopaedic surgeons (among them Frederick Dietz, M.D., Jose Morcuende, M.D., and Stuart Weinstein, M.D., from University of Iowa Health Care) used his relatively simple method, in recent years the pendulum has begun to swing as public and professional awareness has grown. Today, more and more orthopaedic surgeons worldwide are recognizing the "Ponseti method" as the proper, safe way to correct the deformity.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at