Clubfoot Story: Heather and Hayden

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

Heather and HaydenMy son was born in June 2005 with bilateral clubfoot. Since there had been no diagnosis of clubfoot prior to his birth, it came as a big surprise! Before we discovered the Ponseti Method of treatment, we were frustrated with how much we didn’t know about the whole process. I really needed a booklet such as this!

Royal Columbian Hospital does a huge service for the community and the parents of children with clubfoot by offering this method of treatment via Dr. Pirani, and we are fortunate to have this fabulous team of people available. With the combined efforts of your child’s orthopaedic surgeon and the rest of the health care team, you will come away from this experience knowing you have had the best treatment possible for your child. Nothing is more rewarding than the first time you see your child stand up on those two perfect little feet.

During Hayden’s early days, we dealt with issues around clothing, equipment and skin problems. Certain clothing did not fit well and some baby equipment was hard to negotiate with either the casts or the brace. Hayden developed some skin rashes under his first casts. On the day of Hayden’s tenotomy, I was anxious and nervous. I wondered how much he would cry and if he would experience much pain. I chose to remain in the room to assist in comforting him. The procedure was so fast! Hayden cried, but mostly because he was being held down (at this point he was about six months old – older than most babies are when they have this procedure done) and he was annoyed. He settled down right away once it was over and fell asleep.

Once Hayden was finished with his casting phase, things got much easier with his transition into the boots and bar. I won’t lie to you; the first night was rough. He woke up about every 20 minutes and cried, but by the next morning, he was totally fine and he never cried again about the brace. Yes, it was hard to always have him in it for the first little while. I had lots of bruises from accidental whacks. I had to make sure his pants and pajamas snapped all the way open, otherwise the brace would have to be removed for diaper changes and I didn’t want to do that every time he needed changing. But before we knew it, his full-time brace wear (23 hours per day) was reduced to 12 to 14 hours a day in the brace. He continued wearing the brace until four years of age and now goes for regular follow up visits with Dr. Pirani.

His development has not been affected at all. He has done pretty much everything on time. He had already figured out how to roll over in casts and clued in straight away with the brace. He crawled as well as stood up in the brace. In fact, one bonus I observed was that as soon as I put the brace on him at night, he begins to rub his eyes and yawn!

If there is some advice I’d like to pass on, it’s this: Always trust your instincts as a parent. If you think there is something wrong, there probably is. You know your baby best. Therefore, if you feel there is a problem with a cast, call your doctor right away and remove it if that is advised. An extra week of correction is better than causing your baby distress. Also, parents are the ones responsible for the bracing. If we don’t put it on, our child’s feet will not stay corrected. All the best in your baby’s journey!