My name is Steve Cox I was born in December 1960 in Perth Western Australia with 2 club feet. My right foot had a 45 degree twist, but the left foot was far worst being completely backwards and upside down.
Surgeries started when I was a few hours old, my specialist was a Dr Rowe and I’m not aware of the method used but have been told that the operations on my left foot was experimental and was the first to be performed in Australia.
My right foot was corrected with a few breaks and casts till about the age of 3, and hasn’t been an issue since. My left foot however underwent several operations to reconstruct the bones and tendons. My Achilles tendon has had several lengthening’s during my childhood and the last one was done when I was 19. At that time because the Achilles was operated on so many times the surgeon had to do the lengthening over a previous area due to the extensive scar tissue.
I started school when I was 5, and it was only a few months before that my last cast was removed and I was only just learning to walk without the hindrance of a cast. Throughout my school days I was always teased because I had a heavy limp and I learned to hide it by throwing most of my weight to my right leg to disguise the limp and to this day I still do that and can fool most people. But when I’m in pain though I can’t hide it.
After the lengthening at 19 I managed to get to 38 before I started to have troubles again. At that time the doctors I saw said nothing could be done and I’d just have to live with it. I got to about 43 and the pain I was getting turned to cramps that would last for several hours and sought help again. I met a young orthopedic surgeon who thought he could “grow” a new tendon but after several tests & MRI’s it was found that the Left Achilles was dead tissue over it’s entire length and is inoperable. The diagnosis was when (not if), the Achilles breaks the best course of action will be amputation below the knee. He estimated this would happen within 3 years.
Well I’m 55 now and still waiting for the Achilles to break, the cramps have intensified into days rather than hours with the longest cramp so far lasting 7 days and the muscles in the lower left leg have withered away to almost nothing. At all times my lower left leg is in a constant state of cramp ranging from mild (bearable) to intense (give me an axe). Walking is very limited to short distances, walking anything longer that 100 meters will bring on a severe cramp.
I’m now not looking forward to the prospect of loosing my lower left leg because I now have severe arthritis in both knees and both hips which will require replacements in the near future, with my right side being the worst as it takes most of the weight. Also, because of my left leg is shorter than the right this has caused several other issues in my back which restricts bending.
Whilst I don’t regret all that’s been done, my parents had the option of amputation of the lower left leg when I was born. In hindsight I think amputation back then would have been better. That said, I’ve achieved a lot in my lifetime and still try to enjoy life as much as possible by challenging myself to work around the limitations. Since our boys have left home my wife & I now enjoy traveling as much as we can in our motor-home traveling this great country.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has had amputation or facing it and your opinions on stump verses the “screw on” prosthetic as I’m still undersides which would be best.