Congenital Talipes Equinovarus

Brian’s Clubfoot Story

My name is Brian. I was born on November 9, 1972 with severe bilateral clubfeet. I don’t remember much about my early childhood.

I was told by my parents that I underwent numerous surgeries the first year of my life and had to wear full leg casts for close to 2 years. My parents told me stories about never really learning to crawl, I just propped myself up on the casts and learned to walk that way.

Every month my mother had to soak off my casts in the bathtub because it scared me so much to have them cut off at the doctors office. For those first 2 years I went every month for new casts. After the casts stopped, I moved into braces. I do remember being paraded around at medical conferences and having to stand on tables so other doctors could inspect my ankles. I can just remember starting grade school having to wear corrective shoes. While all the other kids got to wear the latest cool tennis shoes, I had to wear these ugly brown leather shoes. The teasing really started full force at this stage in my young life.

Not only were they strange looking shoes for a little kid to wear. They looked like they were on the wrong foot. The really sad part was not only did the other kids make fun of the shoes and call me names for “having them on the wrong foot”; every time I got a new teacher, or went to a new friends house, the adults would insist that my shoes were on the wrong foot and have me switch them. From an early age, shoe shopping was torturous. My feet have always been short and very wide. My current shoe size is about a 7.5 H. Not to many companies make shoes in that size. As I got older and more aware of image and looking cool, I battled my parents endlessly about wearing the braces and corrective shoes. I eventually won out and started wearing tennis shoes around the 2nd or 3rd grade. The highlight of my childhood was when my parents bought me a pair of Converse Magic Johnson basketball shoes.

I remember having a normal childhood in terms of being active. I remember running and playing like all the other kids. My doctor, Dr. Gabriel in Mishawaka Indiana, (I think that’s how he spelled his name…he has since past away) would always tell me in his very think accent “Brian, you will never be able to play sports, you should be thankful to be able to walk”. Instead of calling my mother by her name, he would always call her “mother”. He would tell her “mother, if he wants to play sports, let him try, but don’t be disappointed”. So I played sports. I played Little League baseball from tee ball all the way through the senior leagues. Every age bracket that had an All Star team, I made the team. I played every sport available in junior high. In high school I focused on football and track (shot put and discus). I lettered in both sports and even received an award for making a post season all star team in football. It’s kind of funny looking back now.

The level of effort I had to give to be able to play sports was easily 10 times more than the average healthy kid. But because of my clubfeet, I couldn’t run quite as fast or as far as the other kids. Sometimes when it was really bad, I would have to sit out because I couldn’t walk unaided. When I was feeling good, I usually limped because of the pain. I had to have my ankles taped for every football practice and game I played in high school. I would hobble around school during the day because of the stiffness and pain. I learned to walk like a penguin when my ankles hurt so bad a couldn’t bend them front to back. The non-coaching teachers would wonder out loud why in the world I would want to play football if I had to walk around like that every day. But even with all I did, and because of the lack of knowledge by most people about clubfeet and how it effects your ability to move, I was still labeled a “wimp” or a “faker” or a “quitter” by my coaches and teammates. That was the hardest thing to deal with. Being teased was nothing, I got used to it. But giving everything I had and more, to the point that my feet and ankles would simply not move, and still being called a quitter, that was really painful. According to the coaches, I was never giving it 100%. When in reality, I was giving it 500%.

I could only stand so much pain before my body gave out. My shin splints would be so severe while running that I couldn’t rotate my feet up and down. My feet would always hang, toes pointing at the ground, when my foot was off the ground This would cause me to fall behind (it’s tough to run when you can’t rotate your foot) and get yelled at by the coaches. As time went on, I stayed active in sports and outdoor activities. In college I could still run and play in the rec sports leagues. I’m 35 now and I’ve been a police officer for 13 years.

For the last several years I been noticing a steady decline in my ability to be active. The pain that has been with me for all of my life, that feeling of always having a mild sprain, has been replaced. Now, when I play in the yard with my kids (thank God they don’t have clubfeet) or try to go for a run, the pain is instant and severe. The recovery used to be a day or two of stiffness and intense pain. Now, it’s constant stiffness and extreme pain to the point of having trouble walking up and down the stairs. I have so much arthritis and scare tissue built up in my ankle that they barely rotate.

When I walk barefoot, I look like a 95 year old man. The future is kind of scary. I’m only 35 and I’m experiencing this kind of pain and disability. What will it be like when I’m 40, 45, 50. There’s not a whole lot that can be done except take it day to day and try to make the best of it. One thing I can say about living with clubfeet. My pain tolerance is through the roof!

To the parents of kids with clubfeet. I can’t begin to imagine your pain as you watch your baby grow into adolescence suffering the kind of pain I know all to well But never give in to that desire to protect them and their clubfeet. Let them experience the world for everything it has to offer. Clubfeet should never be a reason to not do something. It should be a reason to try even harder to achieve everything!

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80 comments on “Brian’s Clubfoot Story
  1. Stacy Keys says:

    hi I was born with a clubfoot but only in my right foot I had many operations and had to wear the boot braces and wen I was about 11/2 I got sever gangrene in my club foot and almost lost my leg from the knee down luckily the got to it before it hit my bone I have scaring were the cut my leg from removing the cast I don’t really no much about wat sort of operations I had I only no wat my mum has told me but I’m now 30 and have several pain on my scare at the lower back of my leg and at the front were my muscles has deteriorated and I get shooting pain up my shin my ankle give in were I can’t walk or it just stiffens up to the point I can’t walk on it but it’s worse in a morning wen I get up and it’s that stiff I can’t move it at all I’ve got five children and and I’m starting to struggle doing anything sporty with them even a short walk kills me I’ve never been one to moan about it I’ve just got on with life like it was never a problem but it’s becoming a problem now any advice on treatment I can have or things I can do at home to help make it easier .

  2. louis says:

    I was born with a unilateral club foot and had surgery as a child -only experiencing pain at 53 on one side of foot-have an actice lifestyle-golf and work in a physically demaning environment-whom to go to now?orthopeadic surgeon.podiatrist of Physiotherapist

  3. C D says:

    I was also born with severe bilateral clubfeet. I declined steadily until I could do very little activity. This past year, I found Dr Bradley Lamm who was at the Rubin institute for advanced orthopedics in Baltimore but is now at the Paley Institute in west palm beach Florida. I had tibia torsion that went undiagnosed all my life causing me to compensate. I also had alignment issues that complicated the residule club foot that was happening to me. Lamm used external fixators so that once all the pieces were realigned, my bones would grow in a better location. Having your feet cut off and reattached was horrific. But I went trick or treating with my kid this year 10 months after the surgery whereas I was in too much pain to go last year. I am relearning to walk on my new ankles and feet. But I can tell it’s going to be better. Lookup Dr Lamm if you have run into dead ends. He was able to help me and I was a mess. It wasn’t easy though and was a bit radical. The younger the better. I am 42.

  4. Corrie says:

    Hi my husband 37 has club feet and I watch him suffer in pain everyday. I want him to go and see a specialist to see if anything can be done to relieve the pain but he won’t go.

    Can you tell me what you can do or take to help if anything. I know there are a lot of different remedies to help with arthritis does anyone get any relief from any of these? Are there any safe pain relievers that can be taken regularly. I just want to help him

  5. Tracy says:

    Hi I’m Tracy 40 years old and have both club feet the doctors had to reform both feet and create toes . In cast on and off till the age of 13 , I’m from Australia and the doctors have not seen anything like it when I was born, the files from my surgerys a have never to be destroyed written on them. I was in and out off hospital from birth to 13 years old. Have lost count of how many surgerys I have had rods in rods out, big toes tightened which now are lose and if in bare foot I trip over all the time. Was told I was never going to walk . Night splints till 13 years. Calipers till I was 10. Have been wearing orthotics for over 20 years. I’m 15mm shorter on the right side and suffer left knee pain and pain in lower back. My left ankle is stiff and when I get up in the morning it takes a bit to walk. Went to my pod today to get new orthotics fitted and he noticed I have the signs of muscle and nerve wastage… Feeling a bit deflated… I was paranoid about how my legs from the knees down look lithely are skinny. But now I’m like bigger it . Use to get called chicken legs. I have noticed pain wise the last couple of years is getting worse. Thanks for this blog it is helping me to know that there are others like me going through the same shit! I don’t have ankles or calves. I way 60kgs and have noticed the pain, I think when I was 55-57 kg it was ok. I am a size 2 foot and finding foot wear sucks. Thanks for listening.

  6. Bruce LaBarthe says:

    Hi my name is Bruce. I’m 50 and like most of you I was born with severe bilateral club feet. Surgery was performed on both ankles, tendons were cut and muscle removed. I spent the first few years of my life in casts and braces and I have never known a day without pain, some days excruciating. I was told when I was young I wouldn’t be able to walk past 30 and that I would never live a normal life. I’ve beaten that prediction by 20 years. The pain I’ve endured has not only been physical but emotional as well. Always feeling different from everyone, being ashamed and hiding my deformity led to extreme insecurity, depression which in many ways has damaged me as much as my club feet. I want to tell all of you thank you for your stories! I have never met or even seen anyone with our condition and felt so alone for so long. I am on a search for a way to keep myself from fusion surgery, and I’m not having much luck with finding any so I will continue with orthotics, hightops, ibuprophen, glucosamine, and sheer determination. But most importantly I am not alone! Thank you!

    • Angel Vega says:

      Hi ! Im Angel i have clubfoot , im 16 yrs old yeah its really sad being like this cause you can’t wear sandals but i know god has a reason why im like this my feet will get swollen of i walk many times and its suck.

  7. Dawne says:

    Good morning,
    My name is Dawne. I am 43 years old and born with what my mother says was severe bilateral clubfeet on top of being very premature. My clubfeet were addressed with the surgeries as was the custom 40 years ago.

    I first wanted to tell you all what a sense of comfort and community I found by reading your stories. I had never seem anybody else with scars like mine let alone experienced the kind of foot and ankle pain I have. I am extremely grateful for this site and wish it had occurred to me to start researching the issue sooner!

    My question is, are there any physiotherapy exercises we can do at home or with a physiotherapist to help strengthen or stretch the ligaments in the ankles that are usually effected?

    I have a couple of stretches for the akilles… it is more the ligaments in the foot I am hoping to find exercises for.

  8. Jon says:

    I am curious to know how many of the adults experiencing severe ongoing pain, are overweight. Stay with me here… I was born in 78 with two clubbed feet. From the comments I’m reading it sounds like we have all gone through similar things growing up. I have been active all my life and played competitive sports in high school, however when I was 30 I was as heavy as I’ve ever been and if I walked, ran (even a little) or stood on my feet for too long it would feel like my ankles were broken the next few days.

    That was the point that I decided I had to lose some weight. With the help of ibuprofen and glucosamine I became addicted to running. After I dropped the weight the pain was rarely there and no where near as bad when it did show up.

    Well, I made the mistake of playing in a semi pro full contact football league and ruptured a disc in my neck causing me to quit running for a while and eventually I put the weight back on. The pain is back, constantly and worse than ever.

    What I am wondering is, how much of this is being overweight again and how much is because I am 6 years older at age 37? Is this only going to get worse as I get older?

    • Chris says:

      Joe,

      I am certain that in 70-80% of cases where the pain gets worse being overweight plays some roll. It did in mine. I am only 24 and have a unilateral club foot (my left) and was fine throughout high-school. Played 3 sports and not only lettered in all 3 but also was an all state wrestler. I graduate and put on almost 100 lbs and I can’t walk without a brace. I know that my weight gain played a part. I also think that the natural progression of the arthritis plays a roll too as well as improper footwear. So I believe it at least plays a roll in most cases.

    • Brendan says:

      My left foot is clubbed. Had a surgery when I was young to straighten/turn my foot and then Wore a cast for acouple months. A lot less invasive then other people’s story’s it seems. You couldn’t tell my left leg was clubbed untill you saw it along side my right one .. Im 6″2 220lbs and it just looks like my left leg belongs to a skinnier smaller person lol.. I’m 22 years old now and I have never allowed myself to wear shorts in public. I tried it at school in grade 7 and was teased and called terry fox.. Since that day 9 years ago I havnt visited a beach in the summer or a lake with my friends. I don’t go out in the summer time when its over 20 degrees because I get questions as to why I am wearing jeans or sweat pants.. None of my friends know about it and I do a very good job of “tenting” my jeans so u can’t notice the size difference in my legs .. Avoid walking infront of them ect… It has consumed my life to the point where I can’t see a way out anymore. How can you show people something so drastic after this many years of hiding. I just have no hope left.

      • Dawne says:

        Hi Brendan,

        It seems you need reminding that your friends care about you because of what’s on your insides, not because of what’s on your outsides.

        There is nothing wrong with being different. Never doubt yourself or your own worthiness. In my humble opinion, the most important thing about us I’d not what is on our outsides. it is what is on our insides.

        Check out a great book called The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
        Book by Michael A. Singer.

        You are worth so much more than you seem to realize.

      • Sean says:

        Hey brenden i have the same fears. My left calf is alot smaller than my right and i cant wear shorts. Im 33 yrs old.

        • Dan says:

          Hey, I was born with my right foot clubbed. I’m 22 yo. I Suffer from insecurities due to being teased when growing up. I’ve played sports throughout my life particularly rugby, I think it’s more a battle with myself then others, I wear shorts during sports, whilst running etc. I do think people are staring. But in reality they aren’t.. I have found adults are more understanding and don’t see it as ‘weird’. Not enough people are aware of club feet so are initially taken back by it, but you’ll have to build up the courage to just do it and wear shorts You’ll soon get used to yourself wearing shorts and it won’t matter as much to you. If you were to have a visible deformity to the hand for example, you wouldn’t hide it. Your legs should be no different. Be proud of who you are 😀

      • Kevin says:

        Brendan – I too have a left clubfoot. I’m 40 years old and have spent most of my life hiding it as well.
        However now that I’m 40 I have found that the way I was born was outside of my control.
        Like you the clubfoot we have been living with are part of the “Cards we were dealt”; After all my years of surgeries and leg braces, I still wear one today I have opted to be comfortable in public eventhough I feel the eyes upon me. Some people have glasses I have a leg brace. Stay Strong as this site reflects We are Not Alone.

      • Angel Vega says:

        yeah i feel you i was like that too. but now im more confident because this is me . just dont mind them .think positive . god bless you

      • G M says:

        I am the same way as you are, but I couldn’t care less about rude comments or questions people make. When they ask “why are your legs different in size?” I reply “yours is a personal and rude question”. Usually they get embarrassed and just walk away.

      • Claudia Wickenden says:

        My daughter has similar issues with one leg. I have always taught her she is special and to not let her birth defect affect her life she is now 18 and she is in constant pain from complications of the surgery but she never hides her scars and if anyone asks she just explains what happended. No one is perfect and I agree your friends will not care be who you are and don’t hide.

    • Dawne says:

      I think weight has a lot to do with it because our ankles support our every ounce… Also the type of activity you engage in and whether her you where supportive braces.

      But even when your weight is normal it’s a painful issue. I am 43 and doing my best to keep doing the physical activity I love.

    • Michelle says:

      Hey Jon,
      I am sure the extra weight causes a lot of issues with extra pain.
      I am 39 and have severe bilateral clubfeet. I am also missing a muscle in my calves. I have always had pain because I was very active as a child. I would wake up crying most nights. The feet freezing up started in my teenage years when I got my first jobs. After my first 8 hour day standing on my feet I couldn’t walk for 2 days. I just figured I needed to build up strength so I kept at it for 3 years. I realized office jobs would probably work out better when I got fired after working a double shift and not being able to come back to work for 2 days.
      Working in an office I started to gain weight and my feet would “give out” for no reason. The heavier I got the more these occurrences happened.
      However, pregnancy caused the opposite effect. While pregnant my feet rarely hurt. So I am not sure if it’s extra weight that causes the issue or being overweight causes your joints to inflame like arthritis sufferers. Either way I am greatful to you all for sharing. My doctors don’t understand what I mean when I say my feet are frozen…hahaha…they just want to prescribe pain pills. I stopped talking to them about the pain and just take ibuprofen and wear my orthotics.
      I was told, like some of you mentioned, that I would be lucky to walk at forty, well I took that as a challenge and have been greatful everyday for the ability even when it’s painful.

  9. Chris says:

    I was only born with unilateral club foot so I’m not sure how sports would effect her but I was able to play football, baseball and wrestle with my foot/ankle. There’s no harm in letting her do what she wants to do once she gets to that stage in her life. Hope all is well!

    • Dale M. Pollock says:

      Reading everyone’s stories has been enlightening. I am 66, born with bilateral club feet, had three surgeries before the age of 5, wore braces, special shoes. endured the expected teasing and bullying. Like so many of you, I tried extra hard at sports and played softball, football and tennis until it became too painful and dangerous. I sprained my ankle four years ago, it never recovered and instead degenerated, so now I have severe right ankle problems (the longer and less corrected leg) and suddenly now left foot problems, the limb operated on most frequently. This has left me with severe balance issues, and the conundrum of walking off the arthritis in my left foot, only to aggravate the pain in my right ankle. I guess such is the fate of those of us supposedly “cured” (that’s how my mother put it) of clubfeet, but as I have discovered to my discomfort, the chickens come home to roost.

      • Linda Frederick AUSTRALIA says:

        Wow what amazes me most is its not JUST ME. My mum was told I was borderline club feet when I started to walk. The lady in the shoe shop noticed I was walking on my tippy toes and told Mum to take me straight to the Gp. My right Achilles’ tendon was found to be very tight so was lengthened at five years of age . After six weeks of plaster my first day of school after surgery someon pushed into me running to,be first in line and my ankle went over and I had a further six weeks in plaster with a broken ankle.
        I remember wearing callipers but not whether it was before or after surgery.
        But I do remember in winter my leg ached in the cold where I would be beside myself trying to ease the pain. The only relief I would get was lying on the carpeted floor and rubbing my leg up and down on the carpet often riding the next day I had carpet burns.
        For a few years I cruised along ok but age fourteen I needed my right tendon lengthened once again.
        Through the years I have struggled with finding comfortable shoes and found the only shoes I can wear are sandals with straps preferable Velcro as my right foot is a size smaller, ankle boots with a slight heel and runners .
        But the last six months have been hell. It started when I was on a cruise and I found my right ankle was turning more and it looked like I was walking on my ankle.
        I was walking out of the side of my sandals , my runners were worn right down and nothing was comfortable.
        When we got home in desperation I went and tried a pair of ankle boots which were laced up and had a zip and I had instant relief.
        My feet were swelling up as well as painful.
        I went to the GP who ordered a Bone Scan which showed severe arthritis of heel, ankle , sole of foot and bones in top of foot . Arthritis both feet but more SEVERE in right.
        The GP said I had two options
        See a Podiatrist for orthotics
        Full reconstruction surgery of Foot and Ankle

        I chose the less invasive option. After ten weeks I found the orthotics were helping and I was back to work on my feet on and off all day.
        Then a couple of weeks later the pain started rearing its ugly head.
        I am used to pain living with Chronic neck pain for twenty years , been on Morphine tablets for this time but have managed to live a normal life despite the pain. Many times I’ve been asked why I don’t just have surgery but I have a PHOBIA of anaesthetics and not waking up and there is no way anyone was going to,put me under the knife.
        But now I have seen an Orthopedic Surgeon and am ready for foot reconstruction surgery as I know I cannot live with this pain for the rest of my life. I have worked with cancer patients for thirty years and any time I start to feel sorry for myself I just look at how much tougher they are having it and feel myself blessed
        It is such a comfort and reassurance reading other people’s stories and hope that my story one day helps someone else.

  10. Pragya says:

    Hi
    My daughter born with clubfeet.now she is 7yrs .she had three surgery.she can walk and totally normal but she has a habbit to bend her feet.but when we remind her she walk properly.I want to know that is swimming and football make her feet strong and these sports activity benefit her .plz guide me.

  11. Nicole Macias says:

    Thank you for your story. I’m so scared of what I will be like as I get older. I’m 26, born bilateral clubfoot. My mother really would not tell me about the surgeries I had or how many but I grew up in the plaster casts, braces and in shoe plastic braces. I was bullied constantly over my feet and equipment and it led me to hide out instead of being an active child. I’m now paying for that with my weight. I try so hard to be active now to lose the weight before I really pay for it, and it makes my pain so much worse. As an adult in my 20s, I have to work and support myself and I take every job I can, even though I cannot physically stand on my feet for more than 5-6 hours. I’ve taken jobs where afterwards I’d have to sit and wait for an hour or two just to walk to my car when the pain subsides enough. Reading everyone’s comments makes me finally feel not so alone in this, I’ve never met/spoken to anyone with the same condition.

    • Pete says:

      Hi, I’m Pete, 41 yes old, with unilateral CTEV on my left side.

      Went through my 20s and early 30s with occasional pains, particularly after long days on my feet. Nothing that got me too concerned, as I just knew to expect it.

      Late 30s though were different. Major pain in my metatarsal heads, at first after walking for some time. Eventually I was unable to walk for 20 metres before experiencing unbearable pain. Orthotics were good to start with, but would soon wear through.

      Eventually I met a surgeon who has performed a distal tibial dorsiflexion osteotomy on me at the age of 40. It has fully resolved the metatarsal pain!

      New pain has arrived though in my ankle. Naproxen tablets really help, but clearly my surgeon is pushing me toward ankle fusion. Not something I like the idea of.

      I’m researching prosthetic ankle/feet options now, in the hope that this might be a valid alternative to fusion

      • Christian says:

        Hi Pete thanks for your amazing story, I too have the same situation and I’m 31 years old who’s works really hard in the hospitality industry.. At the end of the day I’m limping and hobbling home. I know there’s got to be a way to stop this pain in the ankle.. If you discover something please be sure to inform as I’m doing the same right now. I think your definetely right about the fusion, try and avoid that much as possible. I heard a prosthetic ankle cartridge can be inserted to replace the old one. After surgery it could take 6 months of rehabilitation in order to be fully functional but still a huge risk since this has not been proven to work yet.
        Look forward to hearing from you, it must be weird coming from a complete stranger.
        Take care,
        Christian

    • Linda Frederick AUSTRALIA says:

      Nicole I was like you. I thought I was alone until I just found this site accidentally.
      I would be happy to talk to you anytime . I am 52 and in Australia I can still remember and sympathise with some of the things your going through now

  12. Damien Boysel says:

    Hello my name is Damien and I was born with severe bilateral club feet and I have had 10 reconstructive surgeries on both feet so 20 surgeries and they took my ankles out when I was a baby I couldn’t play sports because of my balance but I did run around and play I never got made fun of in school really I am 37 now and with all the arthritis and the metal thats in my feet and as im getting older the pain is getting worse and I can hardly walk as well im glad you shared your story because there needs to be more awareness about we go threw.

    • Jen says:

      I am 37 and have been thru numerous surgeries which I’m sure y’all can relate. Both of my feet were clubbed but my right one was corrected with casting and my left needed surgery. My feet are 2 sizes different, and my thigh and calf are smaller than my right. I have begun noticing pain in my left hip. I notice it more when I am active and it is occurring more frequently. Has anyone else had any hip issues as they are getting older?

  13. Stephanie says:

    I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know there are people out there just like me, with the same deformity(s) and pain both physical and emotional.

    I was casted, braced and have had multiple surgeries to correct my CF which is on the left side of my body. I wore those ugly Orthopedic shoes until I was 9 or 10. I don’t have a lot of detail but I know my Achilles’ tendon was lengthened, my ankle was reconstructed and the tibia bone had to be lengthened. I have no cartilage between my foot and my big toe.

    Sadly I do remember the pain I felt after the surgeries when I was between the age of 5 and 7, the fear I felt when a cast was removed with a saw. I still get emotional when I pass the building where my Orthopedic surgeon has his clinic. All that said I consider myself lucky as I can walk. 100 years ago I would likely have been thrown behind a wood pile to die as I was also a premature baby weighing less than 3 pounds.

    I am 50 now and the aches and pains are coming. My knee dislocates, my hip flexor screams in pain because of the muscular imbalance in my legs. My calf muscle is less than half the size of my ‘normal’ leg. I also have one size difference in my feet and my back gets thrown out of alignment. I can’t stand on my tip toes or hop on my CF and my balance on that foot is atrocious.

    My surgeon told me I would likely be using a cane before I turned 40.

    I have always tried to stay active. I am not a natural athlete and the CF sure didn’t help matters. I knew I wasn’t going to win at track and field but I tried. I figure skated, took dance class but not ballet as that would have been a huge failure. I did have success with skating, biking, bowling and volleyball. I love to walk and hike. I did several half marathons a few years ago but my foot could not endure the wear and tear it took to train. I recently hiked Patagonia. It was challenging and painful especially the last two days but I am so proud of myself as I did all the climbs except the last day. My ankle screamed, my heel was numb and the bone spurs in my foot were not happy.

    The one thing I have never been able to accept is the size of my calf muscles being different. I was teased as a child, as a teenager, even in university. The only time you will see me in a skirt or dress is at a wedding. I know this is vanity and I should feel blessed that I can walk. I even wear open toed sandals occasionally.

    Thank you for sharing your stories. May we All be still walking when we are 80!!

    • Sharon says:

      Great to read your story Stephanie. Sounds so familiar.
      Especially the thin calf. I was bullied at school and kicked in my leg, as a teenager wouldn’t wear skirts, worried what boys would think. But now wear shorts, fit flop sandals and have no shame of my tiny foot and ankle!! It’s been through so much I’m happy to show it off!! Keep strong and wear what’s comfortable.
      Here’s to walking!!!

      • Stephanie says:

        I love your attitude Sharon! So many people on this site experience exactly what you and I both have felt. It really hs been eye opening for me. In many ways I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I can do and not have too much pain unless I really push it although today I wore a pair of boots and my heel started to go numb. Perhaps I need to look at those gel inserts for my heel. I have a pair of Fitflop sandals and I love them. I find I usually have to spend a little more on footwear, the cheaper brands just don’t have enough support and I tend to get blisters with the cheaper shoes. I can wear heels but I am starting to pay a price when I do as my foot is sore the next day.

        Interestingly enough I have no problem wearing shorts as long as they don’t stop just above my knee. Skirts and dresses still make me feel paranoid. That said, because of your confidence I am going to buy myself a couple of skirts or dresses and actually wear them and they can’t be floor length. so thank you for that!!

      • Faye says:

        Sharon, I agree with you. I am 57 and have bilateral cf , many operations, casts, and braces. My older brother has same and I have a older sister with one cf. When I was younger,I would always cover up but as I grew older I became less interested in what others thought and more interested in what I thought,cf does not define me, it’s part of me and I love all of me. I sometimes find it hard to find good shoes but I have not had alot of pain except when I don’t wear shoes with good support. Stay active.

        • Louise Keyes says:

          I have right sided CF and have had numerous surgeries. My right leg is two inches shorter than my left, and the foot is 3 sizes smaller and have obvious scarring and deformity and am facing ankle fusion in the next month BUT as I am now 57 and for too many years felt self conscious about my leg and foot, have developed a thick skin, wear shoes and clothing that show off my war wounds and skin grafts and if people choose to stare, then let them whilst I get on with my hectic and full life. I refuse to be defined by my talipes!

    • Linda Frederick AUSTRALIA says:

      Stephanie finally someone my age with the same problem who understands exactly what I am going through. I remember having a calliper with metal bars going up the sides of my leg from my special boot made for me. This was followed by having my tendon lengthened in my right foot.
      The terrible ache in winter from cold weather was the worst. Begging for hot water bottles to be hotter. Lying on the carpet rubbing my leg back and forwards till I would have carpet burns but the ache was relieved.
      After surgery and cast was removed I was knocked over by another child and my ankle snapped so six more weeks in plaster.
      Again a 14 tendon lengthened .
      Until now at 52 my foot ankle and tendon have said enough is enough. I have severe arthritis in ankle heel sole and top of foot as well as fasititis and shortened tendon.
      Looking at full foot reconstruction and 12-15 weeks off work. Scary thing is my left foot has a milder case of club foot and arthritis and I can’t contemplate having to go through this again later down the track with my other foot

  14. Sharon says:

    After finding this website last night and reading all your stories it has inspired me to tell mine.
    I am 45 years old female. I was born with a severe club foot on my right foot. As so many of you have said, I had umpteen (20+) corrective operations, had to wear braces at night, splits, special shoes, my right leg is so small compared to my strong left leg. However due to my old age I have had problems with my left foot, knees and had back surgery 6 years ago.
    I was bullied at school, but teenage years were fine and although having a couple more operations life was fine.
    I find it very differcult to stand or walk for too long and cannot walk at all without shoes. I’ve been down the road of having insoles made, but my life changed a few years ago when my consultant recommended fit flop brand shoes. http://Www.fitflop.co.uk.
    Being a girl I was so fed up with not have pretty shoes but found lovely sandals in there range! (important to girls)!
    I’ve not needed insoles with these and now have boots, shoes and trainers in the range. I totally recommend these to anyone.
    Unfortunately my ankle has now moved into another level and I’m needing regular pain relief in my ankle via an injection and seeing my surgeon this week, he’s said the next phase is a ankle replacement. This has scared me and my fitness levels, as so many of you have said is declining. I try to keep fit but finding even walking a massive struggle. However I will move to swimming and aqua jogging to keep fit.
    I found this site very helpful and read your stories with total admiration and respect. I didnt know anyone else with this deformity and now I DO!!
    I think the secret is to keep going and be positive!!
    I feel blessed as my 9 year old son isn’t affected.

  15. I’m 41 years old ,was born with clubfeet.mother of 2 children thank God both has healthy normal feet.
    This year I’m experiencing much more stiffness and pain than ever before, but realize I will have to invest in taking extra special care of these two puppies.like getting correct footwear.even if its only a pair of slippers.
    This story as well as replies is truly helpful.

  16. Chris says:

    Christina,

    One thing I have found particularly helpful is getting orthotics. I used to wear a wal mart brace and my ankle was still sore. I went to a podiatrist and he had me get some orthotics made…I haven’t had pain since I started using them.

  17. Christina says:

    I am 25 years old and was born with a right club foot, i find it difficult to walk long distances and running leaves me with a stuff sore ankle for 3-4 days afterwards. Has any one actually got an treatment ideas? I have tried physio, osteo, stretching etc and nothing has worked so far… ANY suggestions would be great! surely we shouldn’t be left without any answers on how to help us out.

  18. Sarah says:

    I’m seventeen and had the same problems when I was younger. It was expected of me to tire more easily compared to other children but I didn’t expect it to affect me so much at the age I am now. I can’t even do a four hour shift at work without my feet ending up in agony. It makes me feel so ulsless and weak. And it also has me very worried for the future – if I can’t manage a simple four hour shift then how will I manage anything else?Nothing I do seems to ease the pain either,miss been near chronic since July.

  19. Jayden says:

    I’m 13 and have clubfeet, it sucks when trying to walk long distances I have to take breaks and my friends make fun of me for walking like an old man 🙁

  20. Latasha says:

    Hi, I’m Tasha 38 years old, born with bilateral club feet. I had one operation when I was 6 months old. I’m starting to have problems now. my ankles are really tight and I’m having a problem where if I walk for long periods of time the next day it’s harder for me to walk and my feet sort of give out on me. Is anyone else having this problem? Do you guys have any suggestions for me?

    Thanks

  21. jesse partridge says:

    i was born with club feet ,my right one was worse , i have had many operations and my feet are ok but they can get very sore ,my right foot can seize up sometimes and i cant walk at all ,i have to put socks under my heel so to pad the right foot up so my foot will work better cause my ankle doesnt work at all , the pain i go through cause of club feet , is horrible sometimes , but i still am out there running the fields ,i dont let anything get in my way , ,i use socks to over come the problem with my foot , i have had many operations and still my foot is bad but as i said , i still run even though the pain will come later

  22. Kari says:

    Hi Lisa….what do you do for the pain? Trying to get some ideas for my son.

  23. Kari says:

    My son is now 17, but was born with very severe bilateral club feet. He played baseball his whole life, but a few years ago started to experience pretty bad pain and had to stop playing this year. He’s now working (on his feet the whole time) and is fairly active. At the end of a shift, his feet are so sore that he has trouble walking. Has anyone tried physical therapy? Or special stretches/exercises? I am worried that this is just going to get worse for him as he becomes an adult.

    • Sammy says:

      Hi Kari 🙂
      Im 20 years old born with clubfeet. yes if had the same pain your son is feeling. going through school playing rugby was very hard when i was 17 -18 years old. i had to quit.
      i now play Canoe polo on the world stage for New Zealand.
      Going through selections for this sport is hard. I have the physio therapist that helps me keep my feet feeling better. i have very small calve muscles.
      when i go into see her she tells me my calves are incredibly tight. so she has started to work on them to release some of the tightness.
      i think seeing a physio therapist is a good idea. hopefully in the future your son gets a desk job. this would hopefully take some of the load off the feet.

  24. Howard Hawkes says:

    Hi my name is Howard I am 49 and was born with left club foot my left calf is half the size as my right and my feet are 2 size diffrent my left leg is shorter then my right. I lived my first 5years in a cast then finally had surgary .
    I am very active in sports as well as mt climbing and have had no issues untill recently my knees seem to be falling apart as well as my hips . And my feet hurt alot . For me the only way to manage is to keep moving if I slow down it gets worse. And yes I passed this buden to my son.

    • lisa langord says:

      Hi my name is lisa and i am 50, i also had club foot when i was born, my calf is half the size and my shoe sizes are 1.5 size different. had several surgeries as a young child.Lots of pain in the foot in winter and rainy season.

  25. Esko says:

    Hi, i have a girlfriend 23 years old and she was born with club foot and had surgery at her early age . She is experiencing a lot of pain after standing for only few hours.She works as a hairdresser so she often has to stand for longer period.I would like to suprise her with some comfortable & suportive running shoes that are still looking nice.If someone could show me some nice models that you know i would be very thankful.I live in Slovenia and would prefer some well known brands like Nike.Thank you.

    • J.H. says:

      I think you might want to ask her about where her discomfort is first. I put a lot of pressure on my heel so I found that getting inserts like the Dr. Scholl’s ones helped me a lot ( thanks to my boyfriend who got them for me!) Dr. Scholl has inserts for different needs so you should look into them. I can walk for longer distances, my feet don’t feel as tired, and pain is reduced. I wear them with the Nike Free Run 3. But they are easily slipped into other shoes which is nice. Good luck!

  26. Julie says:

    I agree with you 100%! I have bilateral club feet too. The Dr told me I couldn’t play sports and that I shouldn’t even walk over a mile. I didn’t want to hide away in my bedroom and watch other kids run around so I joined colorguard in high School and played soccer in college. I was the same. It always took me a day or 2 and then I was recovered. I worked at McDonald’s in high school and my ankles always hurt after being on my feet for 4+ hours. My job is mostly sitting nowadays but if I am on my feet for 3+ hours it can take up to 3 days for them to recover. I have found wearing some ankle support helps a lot. No matter how much pain I am in now I will never regret no listening to Dr. and being active. Even now I “ran” a zombie 5k and due to a very steep slope it took me about a week for my feet to recover and I would still do it again! I am also a parent and glad all 4 of my kids do not have clubfeet. Hope you are doing well.

  27. Dan says:

    ..I was also born with both feet effected, and I agree you have to work alot harder to achieve your sporting goals.
    However I was the first pick for playing in the football team, one of the best wingers around at school(rugby).
    I was easily the fasted cross country runner in my year and the second in the school by year 10.
    At 35 I still play football, golf, triathlons, 10th being my highest placing (out of 200). Along with running and weight training.
    My problems are I used to twist my ankles really easily I get alot of upper leg injuries now (not sure if that’s related) And i ruptured my achiles tendon in two
    I have also found no matter how I try I cannot build the muscle up in my calfs despite being into sports for the last 30 years, it’s something that I’m still paranoid about now, but there are worse things in life, and I’ve learnt to live with the fact I have tiny calfs compared to the rest of me.

    I think it was the teasing that made me try harder… How can a boy get bullied when he is one of the top of sports in his school

    My advice is stay active you will get injuries you will struggle more but keep your ankles strong and flexible will help greatly.

    • Kate says:

      Thankyou so much for that 🙂 my son is 4 and loves football and rugby and it was lovely to see a positive sport comment

  28. Cynthia says:

    Thank you everyone for sharing your story. My name is Cynthia I’m 24 and I have club feet. Everyone’s story inspires me. I wish there was an actually club where we all wore sandals and exposed our feet to each other. I know it might sound cheesy, but I’m a girl and I never wore sandals or open toe shoes due to all the scarring on my feet and all the ugliness. I’ve never met anyone with club feet. Like actually seen it.

    • J.H. says:

      Hey Cynthia,
      I thought it was funny you mentioned the sandal party because I seriously have thought of the same thing. I’m 24 years old too and for the same reasons have never worn any kind of open toe shoes or anything exposing my legs. It was nice to know I’m not the only one dealing with this and thought you’d like to know too! I just try and stay positive and focus on the good but I know what you mean being a girl trying to wear nice things can kinda suck sometimes. When those thoughts creep in just remember we are lucky when it comes to everything else we can do 🙂

  29. Chris says:

    Brian,

    I know this post is a few years old by now…but thank you. I am 23 right now and although I was only born with one club foot (my left) I still can relate. I too played baseball and football and I also wrestled. I can remember playing football in middle school and there was an instance where a coach just gave me the most questioning look like “why are you even here?” and all I could do was smile and shrug my shoulders. But you’re right. We always have to work harder than anybody else on the field and even then, it still never seemed like it was enough. I was lucky enough to have coaches that could recognize that I was working hard though and they praised me for working as hard as I did. I remember one time specifically when we were doing some blocking exercises and one of my coaches said something to the effect of, “look at Chris, he’s only got a leg and a half and he is still making you guys look bad”. Now, although I’m sure this was more or less to tell the other players to step it up some it still made me smile. But just like you, I always had to either wear an ankle brace or have it taped up before every practice and every game…I preferred to have it taped because it always seemed like the tape jobs held it better than the brace did, but since we only had one coach who could properly tape and I wasn’t the only kid who needed an ankle taped, sometimes I had to go without, which really sucked lol. But now I am in college working on my bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. I would one day like to work as a special agent for the FBI and I strive everyday towards that goal..but sometimes when my ankle starts hurting really bad…the doubt starts to creep into my mind. The thoughts of, “am I really going to be good enough? will they see how hard I’m working for this or will it all have been in vain? Will they be able to see beyond the club foot?”…however, reading your post and how you’ve been a police officer for 13 years gives me hope. Thank you Brian, thank you for restoring the hope in me.

  30. Adriene Biondo says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Brian. I wondered if you or anyone here has looked into this leg brace called the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/03/31/295328707/orthotic-brace-takes-soldiers-from-limping-to-leaping

    Developed by Dr. Ryan Blanck:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/blanck-ryan/3b/4bb/8a9

  31. Elizabeth says:

    So I was born with club feet and I suppose I’m kind of on the lucky side of things because I only had to go through one or two surgeries when I was a baby for it, so I don’t even remember. But I was just wondering, if anyone could answer this for me, is it possible that my feet can start reshaping themselves now(I’m 17 years old) ?
    If anyone can answer that’d be really great.thanks.

    • Claudia Wickenden says:

      My daughter is 18 and her foot is degenerating going to look into what can be done now will post once we have answers.

  32. AJ keith says:

    Hey Brian. My name is AJ and I was born with 2 club feet. I’m 46 and live with the pain everyday. I have had about 18 surgeries in my life. My feet kept me from participating in sports when I was in school and was also made fun of because of the ugly brown corrective shoes with the braces on them. I’m like you I have 2 children neither with club feet(ThankGod). But I do have a niece that was born with both club feet.
    I’m not able to work because of the pain in my feet. God blessed me with a very strong supportive family which I’m very thankful for.
    Thank you for your story it really is nice to know we are not alone in this struggle called club feet.

  33. Cynthia says:

    Hey your story is very inspirational and made me cry because I can relate to your story so much I was also born with club feet and had multiple surgeries on both feet and, had to always wear a cast and wear ugly orthopedic shoes until I started getting bullied in school for it and begged my mom to please stop the surgeries and the casting on my feet and just wanted to wear regular sneakers and had my first pair of fila sneakers lol I was ecstatic to wear them. Well anyways long story short I’m now 24yrs old and have chronic arthritis….and sometimes I feel like a 70 yr old lady…there are times where I can’t get up the pain is unbearable and I hate it ….sometimes it makes me feel so incapable. But nothing I can do life must go on…..

  34. Holly says:

    My son Noah has spina bifida, clubbed feet and other issues. My son is paralyzed from the waist down. Since he has no feeling down there, he doesn’t complain when I stretch his legs or feet. Walking, standing are not “important”. But what if my son could not walk.

    I really wanted to know that Noah would be happy even if he had to use a wheelchair to get around. That he would be nice and able to make friends.

    When I meet another new SB mom, I’ll say that Noah has spina bifida but he is happy and has a lot of friends. Because that was what I wanted to hear.

    Hope for the ability to make friends. Pray for something more important than the ability to walk. And when you really think about it, walking is silly. The best thing about us is our personalities. There is much more to life than walking.

  35. Jamey Sullivan says:

    Brian thank you for sharing your story. Also thank you for the one’s that did the same. I have a 9 year daughter with a club foot. We went through the process of casting, correction shoe’s with the bar and surgery. Her foot is straight for the most part, about a size small than her other foot and her club foot leg is small from her knee down. She has been playing travel softball now for about 2 year. She love sports and the game of fastpitch softball. I have notice that her CF has been effecting her and she has been cut from two different teams. It breaks my heart to see her so upset because like you said I know she is giving 110% but in there eye’s she is not fast enough because of CF. I want her to stop playing just because it break’s her heart when she get the phone call from her coach letting her go. But then I think about it and maybe it’s making her that much stronger. I know one thing for sure I was born with two good feet played baseball starting at the age of 6 played high school ball, college ball went on to play in the college world series and played some ball after that and I can tell you is that if I had her heart at the age of 9 the sky would have been the limit. I don’t really know why I am telling her story, but if any one out there is reading this and going through the same thing with your daughter or son know that you are not alone.

  36. Robert McDowell says:

    Hello to you all,

    To those of you that are younger, or have children, don’t fear or despair. It can’t be changed, you can cope, you can achieve and improve, you can deal with pain and you will find joy not just in matters of the mind, but in activities that suit you.

    I was born in ’66, British, with club left foot. I’m not sure how severe it is, I have no point of reference, it just is ‘my left foot’; scarred, bent, half a size smaller.

    I had two or three surgeries, lots of physio, adapted shoes. My earliest memories are of waking up from surgery. of the small orange truck that was my present for ‘being brave’. I wasn’t being brave, I was just ‘being’. Having my cast reset at the end of a day spent smashing it up in the garden was fun. I knew my leg was different, but if I could beat you at sport when you had two good legs, who cares..

    Like many of you here, I was determined to play sport. Loved it; still do. I played cricket, rugby (gave up at age 15 when I broke metatarsals twice in one season), soccer, tennis, field hockey and golf. All to a good standard.

    From my mid thirties pain in and around the ankle began to increase. I guess it’s there everyday, but we just block it out, don’t we? I stopped the more dynamic sports bar occasional cricket, though I still play golf. Golf now drives up the pain, but I hate riding a buggy (it’s what old men and cripples do isn’t it….oh…yeah…). I play with my son, aged 11. It gives me so much joy that it’s worth a heap of pain.

    Reading on here about how others suffer makes me feel lucky that I’ve done as much as I have, and still have so much chance for activity. I am truly sorry for your suffering.

    Taking up cycling has been a revelation in the last few years. I have no real childhood reference point, so can’t mourn the passing of old abilities, and I feel I can compete – if only with myself as I seek to improve. Just yesterday I took part in the London-Brighton charity ride. Overtaking younger people, with two good legs and super-pricey carbon bikes as they lazily walk up the hills, makes me proud of the work I’ve done to get fit – the club foot never enters my thoughts. Blessedly, it cause me no apparent ill-effects. I guess I’m probably cycling mostly with the right – my right calf is at least double the size and three times as solid. But the bike goes uphill straight, so who cares?

    Others may look askance at your legs and raise their eyebrows, some might judge. Forget ’em. I wear shorts and go shoeless on the beach. I’ve got a wonky leg, so what.

    You can have a great job, a beautiful and loving partner, fantastic kids and a full life. I have so much to be grateful for, that it would seem utterly churlish to bemoan the problems of ‘my left foot’. It’s a big old world, so take a big old bite, whatever the hand you’ve been dealt.

    • Margarita says:

      Wow, how inspirational. Thank you for your post! My 8 year old son has clubfoot on the right. And I can relate to everything written on here. He has no pain but I worry about him having pain in the future. You are right though, you just have to be grateful for what you do have, God knows some have way worse.

  37. michelle says:

    I feel bad that everyone here is talking about what a horrible future they may have…I was born with severe bilateral club feet and I was missing a calf muscle in each leg. I have been through multiple operations and braces and corrective shoes and not a little pain, but still I’m grateful for not being wheelchair bound my entire life! I’m 37 and my ankles freeze up and some days I can’t walk but some I can…I love those days! These were all borrowed days guys, be happy for them. Imagine yourself born 20-30 years earlier they didnt have it as good. Thank you Brian for talking about this!

  38. Jose Gonzalez says:

    Hello Brian. My name is Jose. As I read your story I noticed you were a police officer. I am currently in the process. All the running I will have to do in the academy scares me a bit with my club foot. How was it for you ?

  39. Padillamommy says:

    Thank you for this! This breaks my heart. I have a four year old son that is going into children’s hospital today to be casted again. I’ve been reading stories from teens and adults with clubfeet hoping to find preventative treatments. Hearing your stories helps me get a better understanding of what he’s feeling,what to be aware of and how other people may treat him. Like you said, his pain tolerance is through the roof and sometimes I forget his condition, until the following day when he can’t get up.

    I have a couple questions for anyone who can answer

    1.What has been your favorite regular tennis shoe growing up? Are high tops better?
    2.What type of sports do you recommend I start him in ( he’s very active)?
    3.When you played sports, what type of cleats did you wear?
    4. What type of sports or activities should I just avoid altogether?
    5.Do you have any advice or tips for me as a parent, maybe something I can do to prevent some long term pain?Thank you <3

    • John says:

      Hi! I saw your question and I have a son close to your son’s age (no club feet, thank God) but I was born with bi-lateral club foot in 1986 and have been treated with both casting and several surgeries. I am expecting to have an additional operation this year to help with some complications in the left foot, but overall I have lived as actively as possible despite the troubles. However, here’s some answers to your question in hopes to help your little boy out with some advice!

      Sneakers – High tops are most likely the best, because of the added ankle support. If he ever wears AFO braces this will also be helpful in hiding the brace (children are ruthless when they see a kid in braces)

      Sports – Let him play any sport he wants to get involved in. The doctors said I would never walk but by 4-5 years old I had started Little League Baseball, Soccer, and basketball. I played all three up until high school when the pain became too rough. Bike riding was always my best way to keep active because there was very low impact and it helped with keeping my ankle joint moving (as it barely gets too much movement when I walk). When buying cleats, make sure he is truly comfortable in them and that there is enough support and that they are wide enough.

      As someone who has been in your son’s shoes, pun intended, he will be just fine in life. There will be necessary modifications to some activity, the pain will be there, and there could be a need for surgical intervention as he grows. But I will say that growing up with this has given me a stronger drive than many others. I often times pushed myself at 200% just to be able to keep up with my peers. I for the most part so far have done everything I’ve wanted to, I work, play with my son, stay active in the gym, DANCE, and walk/take the subway as part of my daily commute. There are some days that are just not very good, but hopefully the upcoming surgery on my left foot will get me past that.

      There are no 2 cases of club foot in the world and there will be countless struggles, but I believe deep down that God chooses the right parents to deal with this.

      I’ve never offered this but, if you ever need advice for your son send me an email john @ genesiseventsnyc.com I would love to offer any advice down the line!

      best of luck to him and to you!
      -John

      • Liz says:

        Thank you and the others for the parental advice. My mom, great grandfather had bilateral club foot and now my 2 month old has mild on his right foot. We’re finishing his last weeks of casting and then moving to the boots and braces. We’re so early in the process, so it’s good to read others’ stories, compared with my mom’s to prepare for my little guy’s future! Thanks for the advice, reality and hope.

    • Tay says:

      Hi, I’m a 25 year old woman and was born with bilateral club feet. I had six surgeries on each foot and was in casts until age six. My parents never held me back from anything, but would instead pick me up and carry me when I could no longer stand to walk (I was the 11 year old getting piggy back rides through the theme parks and malls). One thing I would highly recommend would be running. As long as it isn’t causing too much pain, outdoor running can be great. Focus a lot on strengthening his ankles, I hate how terrible my balance is. Also, make sure he does the stretched recommended by his doctor/physical therapist. There is no replacement for range of motion!!!

      Growing up, I was always teased for my skinny legs, especially my calves. Now I workout daily, and do leg day on a regular basis. I do squats, dead lifts, lunges, calf raises. I do have to modify some of the excerises due to my limited mobility, but I make sure I do everything safely. I also run on a regular basis.

      I am currently a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force. Boot camp was painful, but I made it through on time with no injuries. I have been serving for over four years now. My past has not affected my ability to do my job, or complete my physical fitness requirements, whatsoever.

      I used to be afraid to try new things; I was terrified of getting hurt. After breaking my foot (the Navicular was the area of the main fracture, with several hairline fractures due to my running almost daily for six weeks before going to the doctor) when I was 21, I realized that I can overcome those injuries even with my past. Although it took me four months to fully recover from my fracture, a year later I raced in a 15k.

      As I said, I ran on a broken foot for six weeks. My foot never swelled or bruised (I was stepped on by a girl in stillettos who stumbled backward onto my foot – I was surpisingly sober). I think that the pain level people with club feet are used to can sometimes mask the seriousness of an injury.

      Now that I am older, I do whatever I want. I live a mostly pain free life and put my body through a lot of physical exertion. I do NOT let my past hold me back in anyway whatsoever. I am careful about what shoes I wear when I know I’m going to be walking a lot; but I do whatever I want. I have even recently taken up snowboarding!

      Whatever you do, don’t hold your son back. My parents ALWAYS encouraged me to do whatever I wanted; I am so grateful to them for that. A lot of people on here are talking about the pain they experience on a daily basis. The one significant trend is that they never let this hold them back. Being able to do the same things as everyone but with less capability is something to be proud of. It shows true strenght.

      • Fanny says:

        Hi to all,
        I am female and in my 50s. I was born with a severe club foot on the right. I had a surgery when I was 4 yrs old and Had to wear an orthotic boot with metal frame up to knee during my childhood. I was able to do lots of things, I love running. I do not experience pain that is related to the clubfoot.

        There r some limitations due to this physical deformity, I cannot tiptoe, hop, stand long on my right foot/leg. My right calf is half size of my left one.

        I was able to run until late of 2014, when my right foot completely stop moving. I call it a “Foot drop”, because my gait abnormality fit into “Slap gait /Steppege Gait.
        I was diagnosed of having spine problem. I had a spine surgery early this year 2015.

        After surgery, I have a lot of physiotherapy, walk a lot, do elliptical, stationary bike, core exercises, and certain muscles workout. The slap gait has been improved a lot. I have been able to walk up a long hill without discomfort for 5 weeks. However, my right foot still can neither run nor walk down hill.

        I have a feeling that my right foot is compromise, clubfoot and foot drop. Do you know where I should get help, so that I can run again? I miss running so much, Running is my healing.
        Thank u.

  40. Donna says:

    Hi Brian,

    Although I only have a left talipes, I understand exactly what you are saying in your story. I am 32 and have had various operations growing up, and experienced much of what you did, strange comments about my choice of footwear, being teased for being slow, etc etc etc, I could go on but you know the story!

    I am starting to get more and more pain in the past few years, in the front of my leg, in the shin area I guess, and I am worried that the doctor who I saw about 10 years ago was right, and that I wont be walking by the time I am 40. I have a 90% fused left ankle and it causes me all kinds of grief, but I have a brother who cannot walk at all, he has cerebral palsy, so I consider myself lucky for what I do have.

    Anyway, its nice to meet others who know my troubles on a personal level. I rarely complain about my daily pain, but I feel it, and I am comforted that others know what I mean, even if its horrible that we are all in pain.

  41. Michael says:

    Hi Brian, I’m really interested in your story. I feel we share the same story growing up! Looking back I think the harder I tried the more they looked for an excuse to knock me down. Eventually it took its toll and I gave up altogether! for most of my twenties I played no sports and did feck all really.
    Once I hit my thirties I went back playing football, golf and regularly go to the gym.
    I’m 35 now and my biggest fear is what your suffering, so far, at 35, I experience some groin strains, but strangely not in my ankles or knees. I feel it’s not far away.
    We seem to be in or around the same age so any advice I can offer or you can give, please get in touch.

  42. David says:

    I can relate to your story Brian. My name is Dave, I was born with severe clubfeet as well. I was in a wheelchair for 5 years. My case however was so drastic that I was born without outside ankle bones. The bones in my feet are deteriorating somewhat fast. My heel bones are pointed like stilettos and my bone that separated the shin from the foot in both my feet are almost non existent. At this rate I may be in a wheelchair again and I’m only 19.

  43. Sarah says:

    I am 18 and a freshman in college. I was born with severe club feet as well. I never got to play sports as I wanted because my surgeries (2) left me with no muscle in the top half of my feet and I cannot balance on one foot, much less put any pressure on my toes. This haunted me for years. The constant pain is something I’m familiar with, I like the way you describe it as almost a constant sprain. It discourages me at times, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m lucky to be able to walk, though not much else. Thank you for this reminder.

  44. Melissa says:

    Thank you Brian for sharing your story. I was born with severe club feet and have the same scars from the pins in my feet also! I am 29 and also concerned with the ability to walk since I have also seen a large decline in how much I can walk in the last couple of years. Well, good luck and thanks again for sharing your story with everyone!

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