Saturday, August 20, 2005

Eli's Feet

At my 20-week ultrasound, the OB/GYN noticed that Eli's feet were turned in. She suspected clubfeet, but sent us to a maternal-fetal specialist to verify. Although we'd never considered this possibility, I was born with my left foot 'clubbed', so in hindsight, it should have been expected. The specialist confirmed bilateral clubfeet, and ordered a monthly ultrasound to monitor the situation and to ensure there were no other skeletal deformities. Luckily, Eli's condition is very treatable, and he should walk right on schedule with other kids his age.

We are following the Ponseti method of treatment (non-surgical), which includes approximately 6 sets of casts (applied once a week), followed by a likely procedure referred to as a tenotomy (clipping of a tendon to release tightness in the heel) and one final set of casts, and finished off by temporary use of a foot abduction brace (a bar worn between the feet to keep them turned out). This bar was worn for 23hours/day for the first three or four months, and as Eli's feet improved and he gained mobility, the time spent in the bar was decreased so that it was worn only during nap/sleep times.

At four years old, Eli only wore the bar/shoes for 10-12 hours at night while he slept. He played soccer, ran like a madman, rode a bike and played baseball. The only limitation we'd found was in his jumping skills: he does not appear to have a lot of strength in the feet/calves to jump, must like I experience on my left (clubfoot) side. But Eli doesn't seem to notice any issues at all. If you ask him, he'll tell you that he can touch the sky when he jumps...

Eli is now seven years old and he's still very active and on-the-go. In the last few years he's played soccer, baseball, competed in swimming, dabbled in gymnastics, and run a few races including a triathlon. However, we have noticed some signs of relapse in the last 6-9 months. Eli tends to walk on the outside of his feet and often doesn't touch his heel all of the way down when using stairs. Even though we've tried doing extra stretching at home, there has not been an improvement in this area, so we are starting PT and night-splints.

There are links on the front blog page (to the right) to a few websites, should you have any questions. The following are video and pictures documenting the progress made on Eli's feet.

Below is the same video I've had on youtube for years now; the video and pictures of Eli's progress have been used in Dr. Ponseti's famous office (Eli cameo at 4:05) as well as in presentations on clubfeet.

Here are Eli's feet the week after he was born (before any casts).

Eli's first casting, 08/29/05, just 8 days after he was born.

Eli's second casting (before and after) 09/08/05

Eli's third casting (before and after) 09/14/05

Eli's fourth casting (before and after) 09/21/05

Eli's fifth casting (before and after) 09/29/05

Eli's sixth casting (before and after) 10/05/05

Eli's seventh casts removed (3-weeks post tenotomy); Denis Browne Bar applied: 11/02/05

Eli in the first 2-weeks after beginning the bar: November 2005 (DBB 23/7)

Eli 2-months after beginning the bar: January 2006 (DBB 23/7)

Eli 5-months after beginning the bar: April 2006 (DBB 20/7)

Eli 8.5-months after beginning the bar: July 2006 (DBB 12/7)

Eli over 1 1/2 years after beginning the bar: November 2007 (DBB 12/7 - only during night sleep)

Eli over 2 1/2 years after beginning the bar: October 2008 (DBB 12/7 - only during night sleep)

Eli over 3 1/2 years after beginning the bar: August 2009 (DBB 12/7 - only during night sleep)  

Eli over 4 1/2 years after beginning the bar: August 2010 (DBB 12/7 - only during night sleep)

Eli over 5 1/2 years after beginning the bar: August 2011 (no DBB)

Eli over 6 1/2 years after beginning the bar: August 20012 (no DBB - starting to see some possible signs of relapse)


Anne said...

Wow, the progress is amazing. It's so great that you documented the casting process with such detail. I'm going to have to add your blog as a link from my blog! You've got a great blog. It will give me hours of reading material!!

Glass Half Full said...

Amazing!! My grandmother had clubfoot. Your photos show such great progress.

Heather said...

His feet look fantastic! Isn't the Ponseti Method awesome?

Anonymous said...

I am 23 weeks pregnant and just found out yesterday that my son has a clubfoot. Thank you so much for the inspiration you've posted on here! If you have any advice, please contact me at

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

What brilliant progress and how wonderful of you to share your experiences. I'm sure your story will help many families.

Julie said...

I'm 18 weeks and found out last week that my son has clubfeet. I found your page and am amazed at the results on Eli. I have to say it made me feel so much better since I knew nothing about it.

Paula said...

Thank you so much for e-mailing the link to your blog. I feel so much better! Your son's feet look amazing. I'm hoping and praying the same will happen for my little boy. Thank you for the inspiration!

Jenny said...

I just watched Eli's YouTube documentary video- it brought tears to my eyes! Great job!
Jenny (mom to Kelly, 3-16-00, left clubfoot)

Anthony said...

Its a few weeks until Jack gets his first glimpse of the world. The scans show he has similar feet to Eli. Want to say how happy/positive the video made me feel & what a great tune. Hope it does the same for others. Thanks!

Mrs.F said...

I just found out my daughter will be born with club feet. It is so great that you took the time and effort to create such an informative blog. Thank you so much!

Mrs.F said...

Did they put your son under general or local anesthesia when he had his tenotomy?

Anonymous said...

I found out at 20 weeks my son had club feet and watched the video at least once a month and it always got my spirits up! My son just had his first set of casts put on him yesterday and just wondering what you did to make it easier on your son and yourself too?

Anonymous said...

I am a child life specialist at a hospital in NYC and run a support group for parents who have children with clubfoot. i love your video on u-tube and would love to show it to the group to inspire them is there a way I could get it in CD form to show on the TV for the group.Thanks in advance

Nicole said...

Anonymous (8/6/09): you may certainly use the video. Please send me an email address to contact you.

Michelle said...

Hi Nicole,

My name is Michelle and my almost 3 year old also has (bil) clubfoot. I came across your blog - I agree with the other commentators, you have done a great job documenting your son's progress. It's nice to be able to 'follow' someone going through similar situations. Good luck with everything!

Kari said...

I LOVE your video Eli's Feet. My baby have born with a clubfoot. She has been in casts for about 10 weeks and just got her braces today. When ever I am feeling blue about the whole thing I watch this and I make me feel better. Thank you so much for sharing your story

Monica said...

Your blog gives me so much hope. Thank you for posting such detailed pictures with your story!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog and especially for the video showing your son's ability to crawl, walk, etc. despite the braces. I have 5-month-old twin daughters, and Twin A was born with bilateral clubfeet. We have an extra complication in that she has a brittle bone disease as well, so we started the serial casting when she was 16 days old but then had to stop due to a fracture. We restarted at the beginning of January, and her tenotomy was on 1/31/12. She goes back on Wednesday for her second set of casts, and we'll move on to the braces in a week or two. I have been stressing about her ability to meet milestones, so your video gives me a lot of hope. I literally just sat here on my couch and bawled while watching it! Thank you so much.


Monica said...

Our daughter Roslyn is just coming to the end of her casting phase. I came back to watch your video again... and now I'm sobbing! I can't tell you how much this video has meant to me since finding out about Roslyn's feet in utero.

I hope to make a similar one in a year's time... any chance you had any runner up song choices to share with me?