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Clubfoot is a musculoskeletal birth defect that is characterized by an inward twisting of an infant’s feet. The current method for correction involves several casts and a bilateral boots-and-bar maintenance brace. This method of maintenance requires 5 years of bracing and has issues with compliance, comfort, and social stigma. CURE International in Kijabe, Kenya is currently using the boots-and-bar brace but is interested in implementing a design that reduces these concerns. Mr. Jerald Cunningham, CPO, designed and is utilizing a unilateral clubfoot maintenance brace, the Cunningham Brace, which he expects will reduce treatment time to 2-3 years, lessen the social stigma, and increase the child’s mobility. However, there is not enough published research on its biomechanics and patient success rates to confirm his findings.

The Collaboratory Cunningham Clubfoot Brace project seeks to validate the effectiveness of this design and increase accessibility through force testing and standardized manufacturing. We are working on measuring the biomechanical forces created and applied by the brace with a series of force sensors that are attached to the child’s brace. In addition, a new wrapping process for manufacturing the Cunningham Brace is being developed to increase the productivity and reproducibility of brace manufacturing in Kenya. Along with a clinical study that was started in Kenya, this testing and manufacturing will allow for further understanding of the effectiveness of the Cunningham Brace and provide more research for the medical community for it to potentially be accepted as an alternative clubfoot maintenance brace.

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Agricultural and Resource Economics | Development Studies | Engineering | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Urban Studies and Planning

Force Characterization and Manufacturing of a Dynamic Unilateral Clubfoot Brace