Congenital Talipes Equinovarus

Physically Active with Clubfeet

I was born on July 5th, 1991 with bilateral talipes. I have no memories of the surgery, but my parents kept the casts and I can remember my mom explaining the process of having the feet corrected. When I was younger I always thought the fact that I had clubfeet was cool. It was almost a point of pride that I had gone through the surgery and was just as active and athletic as any other kid my age. In elementary

In elementary school, I was always one of the faster and more athletic kids. My clubfeet never kept me from doing any type of activity. I played soccer, football, and baseball with no problem. I made several all-star teams in my baseball leagues¬†and was a better than average player. I don’t say this to brag, but rather as encouragement to any parents of children with clubfeet. Your child will most likely not be held back by their clubfeet. The only downside I ever noticed was the soreness after competing. I used to think this was just general soreness that any athlete could expect to experience, but I realize now it was definitely more symptomatic of clubfeet. I actually did not even realize my feet or legs were different from anyone else’s until my teens. As I said, I realized I had the Ponseti corrections done, but I always assumed the corrections had left me with no side effects. It was not until I was about 13 that a friend pointed out that my feet were “really weird”. Around this

The only downside I ever noticed was the soreness after competing. I used to think this was just general soreness that any athlete could expect to experience, but I realize now it was definitely more symptomatic of clubfeet. I actually did not even realize my feet or legs were different from anyone else’s until my teens. As I said, I realized I had the Ponseti corrections done, but I always assumed the corrections had left me with no side effects. It was not until I was about 13 that a friend pointed out that my feet were “really weird”. Around this time, I also began to realize how skinny my legs were compared to other guys my age. I used to think they were simply skinny because I had an overall slender build. However, as I matured my upper body filled out, but my legs stayed toothpick thin. I became very self-conscious about how small my legs were (and still am at 24). I will say that as self-conscious as I am about my feet and legs, people rarely comment on them. There are the occasional, “Your legs are really skinny” or “What is up with your feet” or “Why are you walking like that?” (aka a wobbly/limping look from over supination), but these comments are not as frequent as I feared they would be. As humans, we are typically more attuned to our own flaws than other people are. Which is another important lesson, for younger individuals with

I will say that as self-conscious as I am about my feet and legs, people rarely comment on them. There are the occasional, “Your legs are really skinny” or “What is up with your feet” or “Why are you walking like that?” (aka a wobbly/limping look from over supination), but these comments are not as frequent as I feared they would be. As humans, we are typically more attuned to our own flaws than other people are. Which is another important lesson, for younger individuals with clubfeet. Others will not notice or judge you for your clubfeet as much as you expect they will. And if they do the best response is to simply educate them on why your feet/legs look the way they do. Currently (at 24), I am still very active. I play in a lot of adult sports leagues (e.g.

I play in a lot of adult sports leagues (e.g. volleyball, softball, dodgeball, tennis etc) and as far as competing my feet never hold me back. It is only the next day that I experience the downsides of having clubfeet (stiffness, soreness, and, at times, difficulty walking). I am also a pretty active runner (mostly 5Ks, 10Ks, and trail running). Again, my clubfeet never hold me back. I actually find that running doesn’t leave me anywhere close to as sore as playing stop and go sports (e.g. baseball/softball, dodgeball, tennis) or even just standing or walking for long periods of time. I also enjoy lifting weights. This is where I feel like my clubfeet affect me the most. I try to avoid squatting because I have been told by several physicians that my club feet will keep me from executing the exercise with proper form, and could potentially be dangerous, especially with heavy weight. I have yet to find any exercise routine that will help me build any significant gains in my calf muscles. If anyone has suggestions please share. Given that my legs do not readily build much mass, I try to avoid getting too much of a body builder type lifting routine in order to avoid an overbalanced look. However, this is probably for the best as it has led me to strive for more of a lean muscular build that is likely healthier and more functional than a large,

Given that my legs do not readily build much mass, I try to avoid getting too much of a body builder type lifting routine in order to avoid an overbalanced look. However, this is probably for the best as it has led me to strive for more of a lean muscular build that is likely healthier and more functional than a large, body-builder-type look. Even still, I get the occasional, “Someone skipped leg day,” comment. No biggie though, not much I can do about my small legs.

If anyone wants to talk about remaining physically active with clubfeet please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear suggestions on good leg workouts, and good running shoes for someone with clubfeet. In my internet searches, I found this blog of a guy who is a triathlete with clubfeet. For those who lead an active lifestyle with clubfeet you should check him out.

Posted in Clubfoot Stories
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