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Starting out on the left foot

Our little boy Liam is nearly 5 months old now, and for the last month or so, he’s had his left foot and lower leg in plaster.

We’ve had some strange looks from passers-by at the local shops, not sure if they think we’ve dropped him down the stairs or something !

The reason for this is due to him having a a condition known as congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV) – or more simply – club foot.

When he was born (Oct 2007), the doctor deduced that it was “positional” talipes, due to having been constricted within the womb (must be a pretty squashy place, I imagine !)

You can clearly see his left foot in these photos – with his ankle turned inwards.

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When he was about 3 months old, and physio wasn’t working (massage, etc) – we had some consultation with specialists from the Royal Children’s Hospital.

It was then determined that some corrective measures needed to be taken – and we began into the program known as the Ponseti Method.

This was originated by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti in around 1940 – after determining that surgery didn’t really help matters :

Early in his career at the University of Iowa, Ponseti realized that surgical approaches did not fully correct clubfoot and/or created problems later in life, such as severe arthritis or even requiring more surgery.

In working to develop a new approach, he determined it could be nonsurgical.

The Ponseti method uses gentle, manual manipulation of the foot, followed by application of toe-to-groin plaster casts.

The casts are changed weekly after a clinician manipulates softened foot ligaments to gradually achieve near-normal muscle and bone alignment.

Dr. Ponseti is still practicing, and training doctors – even though he’s now in his 90’s (born in 1914).

There are many websites that were of great sources of information for us – and some comfort and reassurance that all will be OK.

Steps Charity UK (PDF)

Here’s a few pictures of Liam with his plaster cast – he’s wearing his “foot under construction” outfit also !

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We haven’t found it too difficult thus far – aside from the weekly trips to the Royal Children’s Hospital – and needing sponge baths rather than proper baths.

Liam is amazing – he’s still as happy as ever – and kicks around while lying on the floor.   They say that kids are more resilient than adults – how true.  

I think WE were more concerned about how he’d handle it than he has been !

It’s not over yet – as there will be an operation in a few weeks time.   He will be under full anaesthetic, and the surgeon will cut his achilles tendon (called “a tenotomy” – or also known as “a release”) – and re-plaster him for 3 weeks.

Then – he’s cured !   And it will be “boots-and-braces” for up to three years.   More photos to come, no doubt !

——————–

Last of all – some massive thanks to the folk at the Royal Children’s Hospital.  I attended the first session, and there was lots of information and discussion – and a DVD to take and watch, and show relatives & grandparents.

And – a support group for other parents with the same condition – again, more great information.  

And the doctor has been “on-call” for questions – like when Liam cracked the plaster through all his bashing and kicking (they had to reinforce the next one with fibreglass !)

So – here’s a bit of a plug – you should join me in making a donation to the Royal Children’s Hospital “Good Friday” appeal.

Last year, they raised $11.7 million – and I’m sure there’s a need for even MORE funds these days. 

You can even donate “online” !

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3 Responses

  1. Our little Liam has just started walking ! His feet are pretty much healed, just need the Boots & Bar at night time.

    He’s a few days off being 14 months – only 1 month behind his brother who DIDN’T have Club Foot – so pretty amazing.

    Well done little Liam !

  2. Hi! My Daughter has this, not as severe but she is booked in to see a specialist to see what kind of cast she will have.
    Thank you for sharing your story, it’s wonderful to read rather than just the medical bump we were given.
    Kisses to Liam.

    Sarah and wonky baby Amelia.x

  3. Thanks Sarah,

    Yep – Liam is pretty much a “normal” kid now – running lots, jumps on the trampoline with his older brother, zooms around on his bike – you wouldn’t know he’d had plaster, etc.

    His toes are a bit squished looking – his big toe nail is a bit wierd – but that’s the worst !

    He still wears boots in bed (day and night) – he’s two years old + 3 months now. When he’s REALLY tired, he goes and gets his boots, and wants to go to bed.

    Thanks again for your comment – good luck with little Amelia (that’s our neice’s name too – we call her MILLIE)

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