Congenital Talipes Equinovarus

Victoria’s Clubfoot Story

Hi, I’m Victoria and I’m almost sixteen years old. I’ve recently started looking for stories written by people like me. I find that it helps to know that you’re not the only one, because that’s how it feels sometimes. Knowing that someone else has dealt with the same thing and knows what you’re going through makes dealing with it a lot easier.

I have a right club foot, it’s pretty severe. My foot was basically backwards when I was born. It’s forward now but I really don’t have an ankle. Also, I have amniotic band syndrome (ABS) in four of my fingers. I’ve had over thirteen surgeries. My most recent being an external fixator to extend the length of my right leg.
Growing up I’ve been teased a lot. I know it sounds kind of ridiculous, a sixteen year old referring to “growing up” but when you’ve gone through so much you don’t have time to be immature.

The teasing probably started in third grade. I had a brace, but that didn’t do much for my limp. Middle School was worse, my right leg became shorter than my left leg, multiple surgeries had stunted my growth. So after having a six centimeter lift put on the outside of my shoe, people couldn’t leave me alone. High School calmed down a lot, only new people or seriously rude people have anything to say about my disabilities.

I’ve never been allowed to do sports, I haven’t even been in gym since I bruised my “ankle” bone running track in seventh grade. If I walk for too long, I’m in pain. If i wear the wrong kind of shoes, I’m in pain. Before and after a surgery all you’re really supposed to take is Tylenol because it’s a blood thinner, not a blood clotter. I’ve become immune to Tylenol. It’s really been rough. The pain really gets to you because you know it limits what you can and cannot do. For instance if your friend wants to go to the park, normal kids go and they’re perfectly fine. I on the other hand either decline because it’s not worth the pain, or I have to take medicine before I go and after I get back.

Being different in a physical way can really get to you. Obviously we didn’t ask to be this way, this wasn’t caused by our own actions, and there’s really nothing we can do to change it. Sometimes I get mad, it’s so stressful to have to think about so many things before even going out on the weekend.Sometimes I wonder, why is  something as simple as walking so difficult for me when many kids my age are willingly damaging their bodies with drugs and alcohol. But maybe being how I am is why I’m not like most people my age. Unlike most people my age, I appreciate EVERYTHING I do have, because it’s really not guaranteed.

Talking to other people is probably the most helpful and reassuring thing someone in my position can do because it lets you know that you’re not alone. Other people do understand, they’re just harder to find than normal people are. Also, for people with a stiff ankle, like me, Shape-Up shoes really make a limp less noticeable, it’s also way easier to walk. Shape-Ups have a negative heel so it’s easier to have a more natural stride, just a helpful tip!

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12 comments on “Victoria’s Clubfoot Story
  1. Holly says:

    My 1 year old son has bilateral severe clubbed feet. Early on, his orthopedic surgeon used the P method followed by a tenotomy. Now he has to use foot braces at night.

  2. kelli says:

    I was born in 1966 with bilateral clubfoot deformity, and my mother also said that I was born with both legs and ankles twisted up so badly that my legs appeared to be twisted backwards. My first surgery was when I was one year old and I continued to have surgeries year after year. I mostly lived at Shriner’s Hospital for crippled children up to my eleventh birthday. I was able to go home on and off over those years, I attended public schools as well as being tutored in the hospital. I had to wear plaster casts up to my thighs on both legs as well as braces, special shoes etc.. My casts varied in lengths over the years, casts were put on and off throughout most of my childhood. When I went to public school the other kids constantly called me retard and deformed, I didn’t really care and in fact it just made me stronger. I was always told I can’t do this or I can’t do that and that also made me stronger, I fought to do everything I was told I couldn’t. As I got older the casts came off, I ran track, did gymnastics, the high jump, skied, you name it I did it, I rode dirt bikes, horses etc. I had a active and healthy lifestyle in spite of my deformity, yes I always experienced some pain but I kept going and in some way I felt that all of those who said to me you can’t… Well I proved them wrong, “I can,” I said and I did, even though I did run funny and I skied weird, but I still did it dam it and that meant I won!! We can do what we put our minds too and if people stair at you just say hey do ya want to know what happened to me? Most people are naive and simply do not understand what is different, but if we explain it or encourage questions we can give them answers and answers means they will better understand us and our struggles, however, always remember that not everyone will respond in a positive manner, but don’t ever let that stop you. Life is good if we focus on the positives and shake off the negatives, and remember we can choose how we live and we can choose to move through life or let it run us over, Never let others keep you from what you deserve. I am 48 years old now and I have had three more surgeries, one on my right achilles and two more on the left arch and heal bone. Things are getting harder with age but I’m still going, I keep a smile on my face and love in my heart. I say to you, “Keep going no matter what, for you are a fighter and you are blessed, a good life is yours for the taking, never give up!” Kelli

  3. J says:

    Hey Victoria,

    Sorry to hear you were teased. I’ve grown up with clubfoot, and my Sports teacher used to call me “Defo” (short for “deformed kid”.) The thing is, i chose not to care, I just laughed with him, and anyone else. I’ve lived a very successful and full life – been super active. I cycle a lot, have being in love and been very much loved – it’s all good. I don’t really care about my foot, because it doesn’t matter. My life is bigger than that. Sometimes I get annoyed when I’m sore. I’m irrtated that I can’t really run anymore. But, in another way, it gives me drive to prove negative people wrong – I will be happy and healthy, and sod everyone else. Clubfoot is actually very common, so no need to feel sad! Much love and all the best for your life!

  4. Rob says:

    Victoria, I am 42 and was born with a left club foot, had several castings, etc… I have begun looking at an external fixator? Wondering about how much is involved with the fixator, I presume you have to be on crutches? Did the fixator help? Would u recommend it?

  5. Angela says:

    Hi VICTORIA
    I too have a unilateral club left. Hang in there -things get better. I too couldn’t run in the park or chase friends -I can paint and make clay stuff and make people laugh -I am now 52 aand have 3 girls your age who dont hav my problem.I have overcome the things I cant do by finding the things I can and working to be good at these .
    take care
    Angela

  6. Lindsay File says:

    Hi Victoria.
    I was born with 2 club feet and spent a lot of my early years in hospital for treatment and plaster casts from knee to toe. The casts finally ended when I was about 13 but left me with one leg an inch shorter than the other and basically no lower leg muscle. Despite this I was very active playing cricket and hockey with casts on and a few years of rugby when they finally came off. Coming from an athletic family I got into distance running in my late teens and went on to compete in 9 marathons including the London marathon where I placed 1,300th out of around 20,000 competitors. In order to succeed in competitive distance running I simply trained harder and further than almost every one else to make up for my disability with strength and fitness. A combination of all the running, the treatment and club feet meant I ultimately had to give up running due to severe osteo arthritis. I then took up bike racing and I am still a very competitive cyclist racing on the roads and becoming something of a hill climber. Earlier in the year I completed a very hilly 206km race finishing in 15th place.
    Whilst I struggle emotionally at times with the “club foot look” and hate being in public without shoes and in shorts I have used sport as a means to feel good about myself and achieve things most people never manage to do even without a disability. This feeling of achievement has also enabled me to have a professional career, an extremely good marriage and children of my own. At 22 I also headed on an extended overseas trip of several years that took me all over the world.
    Like I guess many of us I can’t help but think “what if” particularly in respect of my running but on the other hand the challenges have made me who I am and given me experiences I wouldn’t give up for anything. I am inspired to read other stories from people like you. I only just discovered this page by googling club feet to see what came up and am so pleased to read stories such as yours.
    I was lucky at school that I never got bullied or picked on but struggled a lot with the stares and questions. I used to be quite abusive in my answers and took a long time to realise that it’s not worth it. It is only in recent years that I have been able to open up and discuss my disability even with close friends and family. It took me a long time to accept what I had and take pride in what I achieved. No matter how big or small the steps you take on this journey be proud of what you can and will achieve and don’t let anyone hold you back or waste a moment of your time. Despite club feet you can have a great life and be successful. I too was 16 once and know how hard it can be but be strong and positive and you will do whatever you want to.
    Lindsay

  7. Amman ashfaq says:

    Hi everyone first I would like to say how happy iam to read and learn from understanding people like yourselves and getting a better picture of your experiences due to club foot. I have a 7 years old son who is due a tendon transfer in July 2013. I am a bit optimistic of having the opp done for him due to the fact of future problems occuring e.g pains arthritis not playing sports etc. me and my wife have followed all the hospital procedures since he was born casts braces etc and when he was born he had a tendon opp on top of his ankle (back). But his foot has relasped severely and when he walks he walks on the outside of the foot and we don’t know what to do? If for example we don’t go ahead with his opp is there chance his foot can completely relapse inwards and we have also been advised by the surgeon he would need to have a further opp to twist his actual leg straight because due tipo that being at a slight twist. At the minute he has never had a limp in his walk after a opp is it possible he can walk in a limp look all his life pls help and best for the future hope everything and everyone gets better for us all thank u

  8. Melissa says:

    Hi Victoria,

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I am a 29 year old and was born with severe bilateral club feet also. I was also teased most of my childhood and I hope that you can eventually overlook those type of people. They are not worth stressing and dwelling over. It personally took me a very long time to figure that out. Plus, getting out of high school and starting your own life allows you to choose who you surround yourself with. Please keep strong and focus on bigger and better things. Helping others and volunteering has really helped me. I am a huge animal lover so fostering a cat or helping a humane society helps me look at the bigger picture in life. Glad that you are getting advice and strength by reading similar life situations!! 🙂

  9. Lindee says:

    Hi, Victoria. I was born with bilateral clubfeet, which was on both feet. Right now I’m in eighth grade, so I’m not quite in high school yet. I’ve only had three surgeries, but it does suck. It sucks more when people think they “understand” or ask stupid questions because you think, you have no idea what I’m going through.

  10. tristan says:

    reema says:

    March 21, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Hey Victoria! my name’s Tristan and I have clubfoot on my left foot, turning seventeen pretty soon! I had 3 surgeries done last summer but in one session. my pinky toe was actually twisted so they straightened it out and also straightened out my foot. I’ve been bullied about it since i was in grade 4, but you’re right! highschool is a lot easier, people are more understanding i guess. By the end of the school day my foot kills me, i cant play sports because it’s a brutal pain and I’m so pickey with my wardrobe because I don’t want my leg to stand out since my left calf is a lot smaller and weaker than my right. It’s a bad feeling not being able to do everyday things without worries, i hate being the ‘one in a thousand’. But, at the same time I’m starting to realize that being born with club foot really makes you appreciate little things. It’s a good lesson, and it’s really taught me a lesson on working hard to get what I want. It’s a tough battle especially at this age but it’s taught us some good lessons. I use a solid lift in my shoe with helps a lot, but not much with the limp. hang in there you’re not alone!

  11. reema says:

    Hey Victoria! my name’s Reema and I have clubfoot on my left foot, turning sixteen pretty soon too! I had 2 surgeries done last summer but in one session. my pinky toe was actually twisted so they straightened it out and also straightened out my foot. I’ve been bullied about it since i was in grade 5, but you’re right! highschool is a lot easier, people are more understanding i guess. By the end of the school day my foot kills me, i cant play sports because it’s a brutal pain and I’m so pickey with my wardrobe because I don’t want my leg to stand out since my left calf is a lot smaller and weaker than my right. It’s a bad feeling not being able to do everyday things without worries, i hate being the ‘one in a thousand’. But, at the same time I’m starting to realize that being born with club foot really makes you appreciate little things. It’s a good lesson, and it’s really taught me a lesson on working hard to get what I want. It’s a tough battle especially at this age but it’s taught us some good lessons. I use a solid lift in my shoe with helps a lot, but not much with the limp. hang in there you’re not alone!

  12. anavoro says:

    Hello vic! I am impressed by ur courage all 2ru ur ordeals.but most important is the fact that touching though ur story is so many others would wish they were in ur shoes as compared to their conditions. There’s so much am sure u ve that others don’t .keep hope alive, be happy and PROUD of what GOD has granted u and you couldn’t live a better life. may Allah be ur guide

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