Half my children have been born with club feet.
Getting the diagnosis is never easy, but the good news is, clubfeet is totally treatable!
I’d like to take you through the first few weeks of the journey, so you have an idea of what to expect along the way.
20 Week Ultrasound
I will take you on our journey with my youngest, as the experience is freshest in my head!
The ultrasound technician is not the one who told me, it was my OBGYN both times, but still this is when we learned of it.
Both times (as I had a different doctor for each) my doctor was very reassuring that things would be ok and that it was a treatable condition.
Other than reading many, many online articles, there wasn’t anything else done the rest of the pregnancy.
The morning after birth, Dr. G. (the pediatric orthopedic surgeon) came to our hospital room to cast the clubbed foot (my younger son was born with his right foot clubbed). He decided to keep an eye on the left foot as it was slightly clubbed, but he felt it may straighten out on its own with his natural movements.
Dr. G put on his first cast the day after he was born (he was born on a Thursday) and he will get a new cast put on next Friday.
We have to take the cast off 2 hours before his appointment. He will get a nice warm bath that day. So far we have just spot cleaned, so it will be nice to let him have a bath, his cord isn’t quite ready, so he can’t be fully emerged, but it will be more than it has been.
His left foot is being watched. Time will tell what we do with that side.
For the first few weeks (this will vary with each child) the cast is changed weekly.
So far so good. Got his 2nd cast last Friday and will be getting a new one this Friday.
I did not baby wear my first son who had a clubfoot, but I wanted to wear this little guy and found a few options for baby carriers. I had great luck with the Baby Bjorn One carrier.
Going well. Will be getting his 4th cast tomorrow. Dr. G does keep saying that his right foot is really tight.
He will be getting his 5th cast this week. You can see major improvement already!
Dr. G does keep saying that his feet are extremely tight though, so I’m guessing he may require a couple extra weeks of casting before his tentomy (surgery to release the Achilles tendon).
He has moved to 7-10 days between casts though, so we are getting there!
We have moved to changing casts every 7-10 days, so he will get his next cast next Monday, after having it on for 10 days.
The improvement is coming right along!
We had to do two casts this week as Dr. G will be out of the office next week and didn’t want him going a full 2 weeks before changing his cast.
It is fine with me as he is growing and putting on “chub”, so we don’t want it to squish his leg and the cast always gets soiled from the poops, so they get dirty and stinky and I like to have them changed as often as possible.
Dr. G is out of town this week, so he is wearing this cast for 12 days.
As we had to go about 11 days between cast changes this time, his leg was SUPER SWOLLEN when we took the cast off. Poor baby, it looks painful.
Plus he had a pretty bad blister on his big toe. He pushes so hard against the cast that he just rubs and rubs that toe.
Dr. G is anticipating he will need to wear casts until he is about 10-12 weeks old before he can have the surgery.
There are no “problems” so to speak, but it is not correcting as fast as it could. His bones/tendons/ligaments are so stiff. But, it is coming along.
He is tentatively scheduled to have his tenotomy June 23rd. However, each week Dr. G keeps saying that his foot is not “coming along” as well as it could as the tendons are SO DARN TIGHT. So, we will see if he is able to get his surgery done then or if we will have to wait.
Dr. G also mentioned casting his left foot while he is in surgery just to give it the little “push” it needs to straighten out.
Poor little guy had another big blister on his toe when the cast came off. I am going to have to come up with something to really pad his toes when we move to the boots. I can tell his feet are very sensitive, he hates having them touched.
He is scheduled to have his tenotomy next Tuesday. We will take his casts off Monday morning (a full 24 hours before surgery).
That day we also go to the prosthetist to have his feet measured for his Mitchell shoes/Ponsetti brace. I found Bug’s old boots, but his feet were different sizes and so his first pair of boots are different sizes, so I’m not sure if Screech will be able to use them. But… at least we don’t have to buy another bar.
After his surgery, he will wear the cast for another 3 weeks, then… if all looks good, it will be on to the braces.
Dr. G may still cast his left foot while he is in surgery just to give it that little “nudge”… but he still can’t decide.
He had his Achilles tenotomy done.
Still rocking his casts from his surgery 2 weeks ago. We are wondering if they are “slipping” because his toes keep getting further and further back, but they have good capillary refill, so I guess they are ok (turns out they were fine).
Casts came off and we are off to the fabulous (note sarcasm) boot part of the journey. His poor little legs are so swollen. I know it will take a few days to go down, but it makes me sad for him.
As expected… he is NOT HAPPY about these boots… but neither was Bug… unfortunately, it has to be done to correct the feet.
Thankfully babies get used to things pretty quickly. And… I may or may not have given him some Tylenol before his appointment to get his boots on… so that may or may not have helped!
So, that was our journey with the first weeks of clubfoot correction for our son. While going through it, it seemed like and will seem so long, and sometimes scary, but, it gets better!
After the casting and tenotomy is complete, you move on to the bracing stage. I’ll be back with more on that, as we have had a very, very rough time with it so far this time around.
Feel free to ask any questions, make comments, I’d love to hear from you!