Hello, I’m Janine. I am 36 years old with severe bilateral club feet. I have had Internet access for over a decade and have never searched club feet before. My feet have always been as they are and I’ve never really questioned how severely deformed they were. I’ve never seen a ‘before’ picture of an infant with club feet. I have 2 small children myself, both were born without any issues, but for the first time I can feel what my parents must have gone through. My parents only have pictures of me in casts up until I was about 4 years old then the surgeries tapered off. I remember learning to walk in a Browne Bar, bouncing down the stairs in our home on my backside because climbing stairs in the bar was impossible.
Like many others I can only go by the stories. I am told that the Doctors didn’t hold much hope in me having a normal childhood. I was in and out of hospitals, in and out of physical therapy, in and out of braces, not able to participate in Physical Education. I went through periods of behavior issues. I don’t know if it was because I felt different, but I did feel different. I couldn’t walk very fast and I was constantly being told to “keep up”. I wasn’t able to wear pretty high heal shoes to prom, to church, to my sisters wedding, or to my wedding… not that big of a deal today, but a huge deal at the time of the event. I can honestly say I’ve hated my feet in the past.
I am so grateful to my parents. They put up with a lot of arguing and griping and stubborn pigheadedness. I remember fighting my dad tooth and nail about having to exercise and stretch my tendons! I hated the sight of the phone book by the time I was 7 because I would have to stand on my toes on the edge of it and push up and relax down over and over. It was a drag! Today I accept my feet. They are what they are and unless I’m going barefoot you can’t really tell I had 15 surgeries and endless battles at the shoe store. I have some hip and lower back problems as a result of being able to walk. That’s how I choose to look at it. I can walk and run and maybe I’m not that graceful and I can’t keep up any better today, but I get to swing my kids around and run with them. I’ll take the aches and pains!
I’m glad I found your site. Keep up the good work! Yesterday I was the only person I knew with club feet. Today I’m not unique!