Brace Rite, clubfoot

Jan 24, 2020 / Clubfoot & Foot Disorders

App Advances Research for Clubfoot

At Scottish Rite Hospital, our team is committed to providing the most innovative care to each patient. Through our six centers for excellence, doctors and researchers work together to study the effectiveness of treatments by evaluating a patient’s progress throughout their care. 

The Center for Excellence in Foot conducts ongoing research on clubfoot – one of the most common pediatric orthopedic conditions seen by our experts. Majority of the patients who are seen for this diagnosis are infants and begin treatment just a few days after they are born. The child goes through Ponseti (serial) casting to correct the deformity in the foot and then transitions into bracing. This includes foot abduction orthoses – shoes attached to a bar, which keeps the foot in the corrected position. 

Recently, the hospital created a clubfoot app – Brace RiteTM. Brace wear following Ponseti casting is vital to prevent clubfoot recurrence. However, consistent brace wear is challenging for caregivers. The app allows parents to track brace wear as it provides real time feedback on the number of hours the brace is being worn. Research is collecting this information and evaluating whether the tool improves brace wear compliance, as well as analyzing the outcomes of infants who undergo this treatment. 

On average, for the first three months of treatment, the brace is worn full-time – 22-23 hours per day. Then, it is worn part-time (12 hours per day) up until the child is 2 years old. A temperature sensor is placed into the boots of the orthoses, located near the back side of the ankle to record when and how long the brace is worn. 

Very similar to the hospital’s Brace RiteTM scoliosis app, below are the capabilities of the clubfoot version:
  • Track brace wear over days, weeks and months
  • Receive alerts for when the sensor needs new batteries
  • Check in on brace wear throughout the day
  • Includes an hours per day goal that can be set by the caregiver
  • Encourages brace wear by including banners that say, “XX hours to reach your goal!”
Director of the Center for Excellence in Foot B. Stephens “Steve” Richards, M.D., works closely with this patient population. “The use of the sensors inside the brace has given our team valuable data,” says Richards. “The purpose of our research is to evaluate the success of nonoperative treatment, measure the compliance of wearing the brace and a few other factors. The app is not only helping our parents stay on track and accountable for their child’s brace wear but is also advancing our research to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.”

Learn more about the research in the Center for Excellence in Foot. 

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