International Orthopaedics

, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp 1693–1704 | Cite as

History of clubfoot treatment, part I: From manipulation in antiquity to splint and plaster in Renaissance before tenotomy

  • Philippe HernigouEmail author
  • Maxime Huys
  • Jacques Pariat
  • Sibylle Jammal
Orthopaedic Heritage


Idiopathic clubfoot is one of the most common problems in paediatric orthopaedics. The treatment is controversial and continues to be one of the challenges in paediatric orthopaedics. The aim of this review is to assess the different methods of clubfoot treatment used over the years in light of the documentation present in the literature and art paintings from the antiquity to the end of the 19th century. The aim of this paper is to review all treatment methods of the clubfoot over the years that were proposed to provide patients a functional, pain-free, normal-looking foot, with good mobility, without calluses, and requiring no special shoes. Hippocrates was the first to write references about treatment methods of clubfoot. After the Middle Ages and the Renaissance where patients were treated by barber-surgeons, quacks and charlatans, bonesetters, and trussmakers, there were more detailed studies on the disease, with the help of famous names in medicine such as Venel and Scarpa.


Clubfoot history History of orthopaedics Venel Scarpa Famous people with clubfeet 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


There is no funding source.


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Copyright information

© SICOT aisbl 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Hernigou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maxime Huys
    • 1
  • Jacques Pariat
    • 1
  • Sibylle Jammal
    • 2
  1. 1.University Paris East (UPEC), Hôpital Henri MondorCreteilFrance
  2. 2.Hopital Europeen Georges PompidouParisFrance

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