Ignacio Ponseti, a native of Spain, graduated medical school in 1936 and served as a battlefield surgeon during the Spanish Civil War, treating hundreds of orthopedic wounds. He immigrated to the United States and studied orthopedic medicine at the University of Iowa under Dr. Arthur Steindler, who chaired the department of orthopedics at that time. Dr. Steindler asked Dr. Ponseti to review the results of clubfoot surgery done at the University. When Ponseti discovered how poor the results were, he was sure he could find a better way.
In the 1950s, Ponseti’s determination paid off. Through his research he was able to define the basic nature of clubfoot and fashion a technique to solve the problem. The result was a non-surgical technique composed of a series of corrective steps. The success of his approach was confirmed through many patient studies, culminating in his book, "Congenital Clubfoot: Fundamentals of Treatment" (Oxford University Press, 1996).
Dr. Ponseti continued to help babies with clubfoot and teach visiting doctors his method up until his death in October of 2009 at the age of 95. Through the efforts of Herzenberg and others, a growing number of orthopedic surgeons outside of Iowa are now using his method.