Between 1988 and 1995, we studied 91 club feet from a series of 120 recalcitrant feet in 86 patients requiring surgical treatment. There were 48 boys and 20 girls. The mean age at operation was 8.9 months. Surgery consisted of an initial plantar medial release followed two weeks later by a posterolateral release. This strategy was adopted specifically to address the problems of wound healing associated with single-stage surgery and to ascertain the rate of relapse after a two-stage procedure. Immobilisation in plaster was used for three months followed by night splintage. The feet were classified preoperatively and prospectively into four grades according to the system suggested by Dimeglio et al. Grade-1 feet were postural and did not require surgery. All wounds were closed primarily. One superficial wound infection occurred in a grade-4 foot and there were no cases of wound breakdown. The rate of relapse was 20.4% in grade-3 and 65.4% in grade-4 feet.

Two-stage surgery for the treatment of club foot seems to be effective in the reduction of wound problems but does not appear to give significantly better results in terms of relapse when performed for more severe deformities.

  • Received August 20, 1998.
  • Accepted March 12, 1999.