Isabella’s talipes…

So for anyone who doesn’t know what talipes is, the feet basically turn down and inwards (more commonly known as club foot). I had no idea Isabella had talipes until she was born. It wasn’t picked up on the 20 week scan or any of the scans after that so I really wasn’t expecting it. In hospital they told me it would straighten itself out with a bit of massage so I didn’t feel too worried about it. However, when I went to the physio department at the children’s hospital, they told me this wasn’t the case and she would need some long-term treatment. They told me she would need a series of plaster casts, boots and bar full-time for 3 months then at night until she’s 5. They don’t know what causes it but luckily Isabella’s was only a mild structural/severe positional. It’s possible that she got her feet stuck in that position as I didn’t feel any kicks from about 34 weeks.

She came away from the appointment in big plaster casts up both legs which was upsetting as she was only 10 days old and not even 6 lbs. It broke my heart seeing her so uncomfortable and the first few nights with them on were unbearable. It would get to 4 in the morning having not slept and I’d be crying with her. It became difficult to wind her properly and she got blisters at the top of her thighs where they rubbed. Nappy changing was a challenge and people would look in dismay at how I’d managed to break both her legs already. Every week when they changed the angle of the casts, she would be in a lot of discomfort but after that she got used to it a bit more. By this point, I had adapted to it all and was just grateful it wasn’t something much worse. I have no right to complain as it’s only her feet and the things other people go through with their children doesn’t bear thinking about.

Once her feet were corrected, we had a trial period with no boots and bar to see if they stayed straight as they were mild to start with. They turned back in after a few weeks so we went back and she had more casts then her boots and bar fitted. She struggled with the casts the second time round as she was used to kicking her legs and I think it panicked her not being able to move them. This made the boots seem like a dream in comparison. She learnt how to kick in a different way and has ended up with incredibly strong leg and ab muscles from lifting the bar up (it’s metal and pretty heavy). It meant she could have an hour out of them a day so we could go swimming or have a bath which was lovely.

When she was out of them full-time, it was such a relief. Life is so much easier and she’s a lot happier now. She rolled over as soon as she got them off and she’s a lot easier to feed and manoeuvre. I put them on after her bath at about 7.30 pm then take them off at the same time in the morning when she wakes up.

It’s just become a normal part of our routine now and she doesn’t seem to mind them too much. I think if anything, she gets enjoyment out of banging the bar down on my shins and feet to hear me cry. The more you read into things, the more common you realise they are. Lots of celebrities like Steven Gerrard had talipes so it shouldn’t hold her back when it comes to sport and activities.

She is already such a tough little cookie and I know she can take on anything life throws at her!

Olivia xx

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