I’m not exactly looking for horror stories, I am just curious about other people’s experiences on this site.
My name is Alex, I recently just turned 20 and I have bilateral talipes. When I was just a few hours old I had both feet clad in plaster and later corrected by the Ponseti Method. To this day I have the long scars along my inner feet to remember the tenotomy by.
I once crawled into a paddling pool in an attempt to join my brother and sister (I’m a triplet) and had to be rushed to AnE with water gushing out the bottoms of my casts. The doctors grinned at my fretting mother and told her it would be fine, and I would just have to be dried out.
When the plaster casts came off, my right came out of it okay. It was in no sense of the word ‘back to normal’, but that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. The important part was that it worked.
My left however was a dud. The surgery failed and my foot had little to no progress to assuming a walkable position.
From that point onwards I was put in and out of splints, braces, and even more plaster casts yet nothing seemed to work. By age 10 I was booked into having an Ilizarov frame on both feet, later reduced to just the stubborn left.
Getting the frame was scary, but as I kid I adjusted pretty quickly. And the frame I once refused to look at, and hid from others was being shown off. I was sporting one awesome piece of equipment, and awesome it was. In four months, it had completely reshaped my foot and had worked wonders in doing so. (The attached photo is of me)
I continued wearing splints after that, and for the longest time my ankle was far too weak to apply any true weight on. But that was to be expected; this was my first time properly walking on it, and legs were like little cocktail sticks as a result.
I did have physio to help soften all my tendons and ligaments, but it didn’t really help in the walking department all that much.
I never really truly began walking properly however until I decided to take the splint off for good. It was actually an action against the advise of the doctors (which I don’t endorse, by the way!)
My ankle and the muscles in my legs were so weak, and the splint wasn’t helping that at all. And to make matters worse, one leg was now considerably thinner than the other, which only drew more attention to them.
After taking the splint off and a few years of walking normally later my feet and legs are relatively fine, in a manner of speaking.
I can’t stand up for long periods of time or walk too much, as my legs ache considerably, and I’ll even get sharp shooting pains rush up them.
Another side effect of my talipes was my knock knees and also some hip alignment problems, so I still suffer the effects of those.
I am still young, never been that active because of my legs, but I exercise where I can and do lots of swimming. I do often fear how much worse I’ll have it when I start to age more. Still, despite how much it has bogged me down I haven’t let my legs stop me yet. I will have to see what happens in times to come.