Congenital Talipes Equinovarus

Kaitlyn’s Clubfoot Story

Hello! My name is Diane and on April 23 2006, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with bilateral clubfoot. Right after she was born, my husband noticed that something was wrong with her feet, and at her initial exam, the doctor told my husband that she definitely has clubfoot. When they brought Kaitlyn back to me to try nursing her, she was swaddled up as well, and they said that her feet were “slightly turned in”. I didn’t think anything of it until the morning when we got to change her for the first time. They called the orthopedic surgeon in to take a look at her, along with the pediatrition. Unfortunately, we live in a small community in British Columbia, so our resources are not exactly the greatest in dealing with these types of problems. Initially, the orthopedic surgeon we were dealing with said that he could have her corrected in 6-8 months of plaster casting, whereas the pediatrician said that it should only take 6-8 weeks. The orthopedic surgeon began casting Kaitlyn at just 3 days old, every week. He was only casting her up to just below the knee, which we later found out is not the proper technique of casting. Kaitlyn too became very smart at being able to kick her casts off, and the surgeon we were dealing with did not like to have to come in to put them back on. After going thru 3 casts in a week, he basically told us that he didn’t think casting was going to work and he wanted to wait until she was 9-12 months old to do surgery. Well, being a new mom, of course you freak out at the thought of your child having to go thru surgery.

As luck would have it though, we fluked out and a pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was coming to our town to cover holidays while our orthopedic surgeon went on holidays for 4 weeks. He called us right away and asked us to come down to see him at the hospital. Before, our appointments might have lasted 30 minutes while the other guy casted Kaitlyn, but this guy sat us down, explained EXACTLY what clubfoot is, how it happens (or how they speculate it happens), different treatment options, etc. He rated Kaitlyn as to the severity of her clubfoot and she was actually quite severe, but not bone related in any way. He then did her first set of casts, which extended all the way up to her hips. She screamed the whole time, which was just awful, but we knew that we were doing this to help her out. Once he was finished, she didn’t fuss anymore and was back to her normal self. Our doctor was changing these casts every 4 days, repositioning her feet in the newly corrected position. After 7 sets of casts, so 28 days, her feet look amazing. We had to get a tenotomy done because her achilles tendon was too tight, so that was just done on June 26th, and on July 14th, we are making our first trip down the the Shriners Hospital in Spokane, WA to be fitted with her boots and bars, since our pediatric orthopedic surgeon is done at our hospital and has moved on to the next place he is covering holidays for. Kaitlyn will have to wear the boots with the Dennis-Browne splits for 23 hours a day for the first 3 months, then only when she is sleeping for 2-4 years. I was amazed at the progress that was made once we were getting casted the proper way, using the Ponseti method, and would strongly recommend for anyone in the same situation as us, living in a small town with limited resources, to go to a place that specializes in clubfoot immediately and don’t let someone mess around.

Thanks to this doctor, Kaitlyn can avoid surgery and already has cute little feet that look “normal”.

Sincerely,

Diane, Mom to Kaitlyn

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