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Clubfoot is a musculoskeletal birth defect characterized by an inward twisting of an infant’s feet. Currently, a series of casts are used to correct the clubfoot, and a boots-and-bar brace is used to maintain the correction. However, this method has concerns with compliance, comfort, and social stigma. Hope Walks and their clinic in Kijabe, Kenya are interested in implementing a new maintenance brace that addresses these concerns. Mr. Jerald Cunningham, CPO, designed and is utilizing a unilateral clubfoot maintenance brace called the Cunningham Clubfoot Brace. He asserts his brace reduces treatment time, lessens social stigma, and increases child mobility. However, to date, there is not enough published research on its biomechanics and patient success rates to confirm his findings.
The Cunningham Clubfoot Brace Collaboratory project seeks to validate the effectiveness of the Cunningham design through biomedical testing and increase brace availability through sustainable manufacturing. To do this, the team is measuring the biomechanical forces applied by the brace with multiple force sensor systems and an infant foot model. The team is assisting Mr. Cunningham in his plans to use injection molding to increase brace production by scanning and creating CAD files of the brace. The team is also completing a failure and reuse analysis of the Cunningham Brace for the clinic in Kijabe. Furthermore, the ongoing clinical study at CURE International's hospital in Kijabe, Kenya, and Dr. Emily Farrar’s research paper will provide greater insight into the effectiveness of the Cunningham Brace. These collaborative efforts will allow for further understanding of the effectiveness of the Cunningham Brace and its acceptance as an alternative clubfoot maintenance brace.
Messiah University, Messiah College, Engineer, community, service
Southall, Leigha R.; Lo, Michelle; Meekins, Clint M.; Cornwell, Jacob R.; Fouse, Brittney D.; Rasinske, Sam J.; Witt, Jordan M.; and Howell, Tim, "Force Characterization and Manufacturing of a Dynamic Unilateral Clubfoot Brace" (2021). 2021 Collaboratory/Engineering Symposium. 18.