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Treatment for 'clubfoot/talipes'

(11 Posts)
Mollie2403 Wed 23-Feb-05 00:01:28

I have identical twin boys and DT1 was born with clubfoot/talipes in his right foot only. Before I go into too much detail I just wondered if anyone else has experienced this with their child/children and if so what treatment they needed to correct it?

ghosty Wed 23-Feb-05 00:59:12

Hi Mollie ... congratulations on the birth of your twins!
A friend of mine had a little girl born with a club foot/talipes ... She had an operation as a very young baby (I believe it was to loosen the tendon that pulled her foot up and inwards) and was then put in a brace. This comprised of little booties/shoes that were fixed on a bar a specific distance apart. The baby had to have her feet in these booties for 23 hours a day to keep them still (obviously they changed the size of the boots as she got older)
I am not sure how long this was for but it was for a good few months ... I was sent a photo of her at about 5 months and she was wearing the brace in the photos.
She is now 2 years old and walking. Would you like me to email my friend and ask for more details??

Twiglett Wed 23-Feb-05 08:26:28

Blu has the most wonderful, adventurous little boy who was born with talipes

I will point her in your direction

Mollie2403 Wed 23-Feb-05 11:19:02

Hi ghosty and twiglett, thanks for your replies. Sorry, I should have explained a bit more in my first message as my boys are 17 mths old now (14 ½ mths corrected - they were premature).

DT1 has and is still having treatment for his foot. When he was born he was in an incubator for a while and the hospital used a very small splint which they strapped to his foot and leg. The hospital physio used to do some stretches on it too. They told me it looked quite rigid and he may need an operation but later they decided it didn't as it was correcting really well.

When he came home he had physiotherapy each week and then his leg and foot was put into a soft 'plaster' type cast. This went on for a few weeks and we had to attend the hospital for check-ups. I was just so pleased that they seemed pleased (IYKWIM!) and glad that he did not have to have an operation (having gone through a lot already with the boys being so premature this was a relief) so we just continued with their treatment. However, I’m no expert but I just got the impression that no-one seemed to be very 'clued up' with regards to treatment of clubfoot/talipes. By now his foot was looking great, but then he had been in plaster for weeks so no wonder! There seemed to be no plan as to what will happen next or how long this treatment would be for.

We were told he would need to wear special shoes on a brace but when we went to collect them - there was only one shoe with no brace and for the wrong foot! We did finally get the correct shoes when he was around 5 mths old - only to be told at a check-up though that although they still thought he did not need an operation he would have to wear these 23 hrs a day until he was 2 yrs old! I was so upset and obviously worried about him learning to walk and having to watch his twin brother walking and playing etc. When I asked about this I was firmly told that 'he'll have to just sit and watch' and that 'children are usually OK with this - it's the parents that can't cope'!! I was horrified!!

To cut a very long story as short as possible (if possible!) I started doing my own research on the subject and read all about a particular treatment for clubfoot called 'ponsetti'. It seemed that the hospital were aware of this treatment but did not specialise in it.

Through the internet, I found a hospital that does specialise in this treatment and had DT1 referred there. They have been wonderful. They said that his foot did not need an operation to loosen the tendon at this stage (and hopefully never will) and that he only needed to wear the special shoes 23hrs a day for 12 weeks in total and then each night until he was approximately age 4. We have regular check-ups and a lot of new shoes as his feet are growing so fast!

Anyway, I am pleased to say that he started walking shortly after his 1st birthday (10 mths corrected age)!!!! He’s been so good with his shoes and never complains about them. I know we’ve been fortunate in this sense as a lot of babies protest which makes it more upsetting to cope with.

I just wanted to share this experience in case there are other parents out there in the same situation. I know that DT1’s treatment could have started a lot sooner had we been pointed in the right direction.

Blu Wed 23-Feb-05 13:03:51

Here I am!
Hello Mollie, welcome to MN, and big congratulations on your baby boys.In fact there are quite a few Mumsnetters who have had experience of talipes, and the related issues such as splints, orthotics - they tend to crop up on the Special needs Board - so you can put messages there, too. Dinosaurs little boy is just finishing Ponesetti treatment.

My DS was born with talipes in his left foot, and some more serious related complications, too - a missing fibula, short leg, fused ankle joint and missing toes and 'ray' of foot.

How old are your boys, and have you started treatment yet? Which hospital are you attached to?

I found the STEPS website and message board very useful for specific talipes advice and they will put you in contact with people locally who are facing the same issues. But, of course, Mumsnet is THE place for parenting support!

My DS, now 3.5, has had surgery which enabled him to put his foot flat to the floor and he walks very happily with orthopeadic boots (Piedro boots - they are v sweet). But most of the help and adjustmentss he has now are because of his other conditions - not the fact that his foot was in the talipes position.

And as Twiglett says, he is adventurous in extremis! He shoots to the top of the big boys climbing frame in the park, and his talipes hasn't held him back at all. He now cannot run anywhere near as fast as other children, but that is because of his short leg and ankle, not the corrected talipes.

How are you feeling about the whole thing? It occurs to me that if your little one is newborn, and a twin, that it is v likely to be 'positional talipes' as a result of being a bit cramped in one position, which is uaually correctable through simple physiotherapy or 'strapping' - bandages. What has your orthopeadic consultant said?

morningpaper Wed 23-Feb-05 13:05:36

Mollie: Not sure how old they are but my dd was born with talipes in both feet and it corrected itself within a few months with no intervention.

morningpaper Wed 23-Feb-05 13:06:23

Oh sorry just seen your other post explaining! Ignore me...

Blu Wed 23-Feb-05 13:13:02

Sorry Mollie - i started a reply ages ago - but thengot interrupted and by the time I posted, you had posted your update!

I am really pleased for you that Ponestti-based treatment has been succesful for your baby, as it reputedly has better long-term results than surgery. I don't mean tendon release surgery that is sometimes necessary for Ponsetti treatment, but is in any case v minor, I mean soft tissue surgery to put the foot in the correct position.

Which hospital did you eventually get referred to? I think you are absolutely right - parents need a way to be clued in to information and suport from very early on. I was lucky in this respect as DS's talipes was spotted at the 20 week scan.

Have you seen the STEPS site, or become a member? Also Clubfoot.Uk. I'll post links.

Blu Wed 23-Feb-05 13:15:43

Clubfoot UK

Mollie2403 Wed 23-Feb-05 13:43:32

Thanks Blu I will certainly have a look at these websites.

To be honest, DT1's talipes was also picked up at my 20 week scan - I was worried but they just told me it was something that could usually be easily corrected. I looked into it a bit more at the time but I developed pre-eclampsia and ended up staying in hospital for over five weeks before I had them @ 30wks. Everything was happening so fast and it was such a worrying time so I didn't have much time to do any research beforehand and afterwards I just trusted that he was getting the best treatment.

Blu Wed 23-Feb-05 14:54:00

Bloody 'ell, you did have a lot on your plate, didn't you?

V pleased to see that your little boy is doing so well now.

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