So we were done what we originally thought would be the hard part of the 3 year process in correcting our son’s club foot, the 8 week casting process. We thought we were smooth sailing, cause all in all, the casts were pretty easy once we got used to it. Our sons foot was now cast free, and he was fitted with shoes attached to a stationary bar, he would be able to have 1-2 hours of freedom from it a day for 3 months. This would be easy right?! Boy were we wrong.
The first couple days with his new brace, he cried and hated it. But slowly it seemed that he was getting used to moving both his legs together. Sleeping was the hardest, and he had a hard time moving his bottom half. Things seems like they were getting better. About a week with the shoes & brace we noticed that Mason was getting a red mark on the back of his right heel. Now this was his ‘good’ foot. The one we weren’t supposed to have any issues with. We were told to try putting Vaseline to prevent friction. We were away on a family weekend holiday, when I noticed a bit of a blister beginning, and took the shoes off completely. Waiting till we got home, we then called the orthopaedist who said give it a couple days and retry the shoes and brace. It only ended up getting worse. There was an open wound now on the back of his heel almost the size of a quarter due to friction from trying to move his legs separately.
My poor little guy. He was in such pain he would cry out. We went down to the orthopaedist, and they cut a hole in the back of the shoe on that foot. We were to leave the shoe off completely until it healed, but in the mean time leave just the shoe on his right foot – the clubbed foot. So after about a week and a half, it had healed some, and we tried the shoe again. The hole was cut out where the wound had formed, so it would take the pressure off that area. Or at least it should have.
In the meantime I had been looking online and found a different brace, called the Dobbs Bar. This bar still held the position of the feet to hold the correction, but allowed for the baby to move each foot independently some. Enough to crawl even if needed. So I went back to CHEO, and I asked for it. They said OHIP didn’t cover it, and to give the one we had another shot. Less than a day after trying again, the wound reopened. Mason was miserable, and so was I. Why was this happening? This was after all, his ‘good’ foot. We were having no problems at all with his actual club foot. So I demanded to be allowed to buy the Dobbs Bar. Dr Willis agreed, and we got fitted for this new brace.
Let me tell you! What a wonderful difference! Mason was able to move both feet independently, as if in a kicking motion. He could have 1 foot up and 1 down, so unlike the other bar where he had to move both legs together! It was a godsend! He had no issues with it, and neither did we! I only wish I had found it and demanded it off the right away.
So happy with this new brace, Mason was able to wear the shoes/bar combo 22 hours a day for the required 3 months. Even now at 16 months old he still has a mark on the back of his left heel from the wound from the other bar, but in time I hope it will fade. Now Mason has to wear the shoes/bar for bedtime only. He has never had a problem since getting the Dobbs Bar, and it is just a part of his routine.
Although I was terribly frightened at the beginning of this journey, looking back now it hasn’t been as bad as we initially thought it would be. If anything, having to wear the shoes and bar, strengthened both of Mason’s legs. He was rolling over onto his belly before 3 months old. Crawling early and walking at 9.5 months – running shortly after his 1st birthday. We were told on our first visit to CHEO that Mason might be delayed in those areas. Walk later, have troubles with balance etc. He reached those milestones way before our daughter ever did, and he is a little running machine. Being born with a club foot definitely didn’t hold him back, it was the opposite really. His right foot is a little smaller than the left, as is his calf. They will likely always be smaller than the left. He will have no problems playing sports, or doing anything else that someone born with a ‘normal’ foot would be able to do.
What this process has taught me is that I am stronger as a mother than I ever thought I was. That science and medical fields are ever changing and I am so thankful for Dr Ponseti and his method for treating babies born with clubbed feet. To stand up and ask for what I want. Had I not demanded the Dobbs Bar, we may still be struggling, and our story could have went differently. There is nothing wrong with my beautiful little boy. All the worrying while he was inside me, then once he was out and we started our journey was for nothing. Yes, I can tell that his foot is a little different and likely always will be, but he is as normal and happy as any other child, and for this I am forever thankful and blessed.
Part 1: https://ottawavalleymoms.com/2012/08/our-clubfoot-journey-part-1/
Part 2: https://ottawavalleymoms.com/2012/08/our-clubfoot-journey-part-2/
Friday - 17 / 08 / 2012