Center for Excellence in Clubfoot Research

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children treats more than 100 new patients with clubfeet each year and has more than 1,000 clubfoot-related clinic visits annually. In addition, the hospital treats an increasing number of complex adolescent foot disorders. Collectively, these conditions are combined to form the Center for Excellence in Clubfoot Research.
Under the direction of Steve Richards, M.D., the center facilitates extensive research into clubfoot - its cause, the effectiveness of nonoperative and operative treatments, and the study of gait patterns in clubfoot patients. The two non-operative treatment methods, the Ponseti casting method and the French functional (physical therapy) method of stretching, massaging and taping have been shown to be effective and are most successful if the treatment begins early in the newborn period. Collaboration with our bioengineers, the Movement Science Lab, Molecular Genetics, orthotists, and physical therapy lead to the optimal research environment.
Research in complex adolescent foot disorders is increasing under the direction of Anthony Riccio, M.D. In conjunction with an adult foot and ankle specialist, our orthotists and the Scottish Rite Hospital Movement Sciences Laboratory, efforts are underway to determine how the management of difficult foot disorders in adolescents and young adults can be optimized. Residual painful foot deformities following surgery years earlier, rigid flatfeet, stiff cavovarus feet and the adult sequelea of congenital foot deformities are among the conditions being investigated.   

Physician Members of the Clubfoot Research Center

B. Stephens Richards, M.D. (Director)
Lori Karol, M.D.
Karl Rathjen, M.D.
Anthony Riccio, M.D.

Research Staff Members of the Center

Kaitlyn Brown, M.S.
Ashley Erdman, M.S.
Shawne Faulks, R.N., C.N.S.
Isabel Hernandez, B.A., B.S.
Kelly Jeans, M.S.
Kirsten Mauldin, B.S.
Jonathan Rios, Ph.D.
Jennifer Rodgers, M.A.
Kirsten Tulchin-Francis, Ph.D.

Current Studies

Prospective Clubfoot registry

The purpose of these studies are to determine the success of nonoperative treatment of clubfeet at 2 years and 5 years, how often surgical treatment is needed, determine the frequency of clubfeet that are nonidiopathic, measure compliance of maintenance bracewear for corrected clubfeet, and determine usefulness of radiographs in clubfoot treatment.

Genetic study of clubfeet

Multicenter collaboration is underway to study the human genome in an effort to identify genes associated with clubfeet, along with variation in genes that may be involved in this deformity’s etiology.

Gait Analysis of clubfeet

These studies examine the function and position of corrected feet at age 2 years and 5 years following nonoperative treatment. In those who need limited surgery, tendon transfers can result in better foot positioning.

Prospective complex foot deformity database

This prospective registry has been established to collect objective and patient reported outcome data in adolescents and young adults being managed for a variety of complex foot and ankle deformities.  This data should help shed light on how to better manage the sequelae of congenital and acquired pediatric foot problems in those nearing adulthood.