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