My baby has Clubfoot

10/04/2016 10:48:00 PM

my baby has clubfoot-what is clubfoot-the treatment of clubfoot-and how we live with it--

Well, this is a super sensitive subject for me. But I need to tell you a bit about the story of my baby, he was born with clubfoot.

My baby was born at dawn, and after being born my fiancé accompanied him with the nurses and the pediatrician to see if everything was okay, dress him, etc. When he returned to the "delivery room" he said that the baby was fine, he only had the foot cracked. I thought it was a "bad mood" at birth because the nurse said he was born with his hand on his head.

Then when they brought the baby to my chest it was 2 am and then I went to breastfeed him and put him to sleep, and drooling to look at my little prince. At 7 AM when he woke up and went to change my prince's first diaper, I actually saw the clubfoot, and the tears didn't stop, and despair struck me. I spoke with a nurse and she called the pediatrician who explained that he would have to do some plasters and that everything would be fine. But it was not quite like that.

What is Clubfoot?  

The clubfoot is a congenital malformation that is normally detected on ultrasound (in the case of my son not) and which occurs on average one child Caucasian every 1,000 births and is twice as common in boys. The diagnosis of clubfoot is made at birth, based on the clinical observation of the deformity. The foot born crooked "turned inward" and can be unilateral (only one foot) or bilateral (both feet), in our case, it was unilateral left feet. Doctors haven't yet to discover the cause of the disease.

The Treatment

At the moment I live in Constância (Santarém) and the treatment has to be done in the Hospital Dona Estefânia in Lisbon (about 150km). With about 15 days of my baby's life, we went to the first appointment where the doctor explained to us what the foot was like and what the treatment would look like.

My baby was born with clubfoot on his left foot and had to do about 6 plasters on the left foot and 3 on the right foot. This treatment is based on the Ponseti method, where plaster is applied from the foot to at least the groin area, and where every week the doctor manipulates the joints, "moving" the foot to get it in the right position and then starts using orthopedic boots up to 4-5 years of age.

For a month and a half, we went to Lisbon every week to put on and take out the plaster. None of these appointments was easy, but the first time they took the plaster and cut the plaster with the saw, the tears spontaneously fall down on my face. He was so small, overwhelming.

On March 8, 2016, it is time to do the Tenotomy, that is, a small blow that is given above the heel to elongate the Achilles tendon. The baby is anesthetized (my baby was only 2 months old) and then got the plaster for 3 weeks in a row. The operation took about 2 hours and the same day we all came home. It was a tough day.

After plaster and tenotomy, babies must wear orthopedic boots (external bracing) every day until they have 4-5 years old. The boots have a half bar that holds the two boots and so when they start walking is more complicated because they can not walk with their boots.

Initially, he got his boots 24 hours a day, just took off his boots to bathe and nothing else. By the end of June 2016, it has been used for 16 hours a day and will continue until the end of treatment.

The minimum period they have to have the boots is 12 hours a day, but this is something that the pediatric orthopaedist decides according to the evolution of the foot. The longer the babies use their boots, the less likely they will be to become crooked one day.

The duration of treatment varies from baby to baby. In some cases, total correction can be achieved when the baby is 3 years old and other babies only stop wearing their boots at the age of 5 years. The most important thing is for parents to put their boots on properly and for at least 12 hours a day.

When there is a delay in the beginning of treatment, in the most severe forms, or when the malformation can not be corrected only through orthopedic treatment, the only solution is the use of surgery. The foot is then immobilized with plaster for a few months, and then a rehabilitation treatment is necessary to allow the foot to acquire its normal functionality.

Recent studies prove that the Ponseti method, which is the treatment done at the moment in Portugal has a success rate of 97.5%. This is a memory deformity disease and therefore the treatment has to be scrupulously followed because the foot will tend to return to the position in which it was born.

Clubfoot Parents

If you are going to be parents for the first time of a baby with clubfoot, in the beginning, it will be overwhelming. I was angry, I cried a lot and wondered why my baby so small had to go through all this. I was very angry, angry at the world.

I was afraid of everything my little prince was going to get through. I was afraid he would not walk.

People were always telling me that there were babies with worse illnesses. But is this a consolation? Of course, I wanted all babies to be born healthy, but what hurts me is my baby. It's my son.

Over time, the revolt was calming and "accepting." With 11 months, Mateus began to take the first steps, and today at 1 and a half years already runs the whole house. Whoever does not know him, and sees him walking and running does not imagine that he has a clubfoot. His foot is as normal as mine.

The pain subsided. Hope has come back and the feeling that everything will be okay remains.

Dad, Mom, it's going to be a long way, but it's going to be okay. As I usually say, "Mateus, we'll put on the magic boots to get a good foot!" And the boots are magical, and the feet are good and our babies will be happy forever.

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