We started our clubfoot journey about 4 years ago after I went for my first ultrasound appointment and then was called to be seen by my obstetrician immediately for the results. Honestly, I had no idea what the doctor was referring to as clubfoot, I had never heard of it and I felt panicked and my husband absolutely crumbled. As the doctor stepped out, I tried to google images and…well, clubfoot images can be kinda hard to take in with no background knowledge on the condition. *Side note* these same images now make my heart happy and clubfoot baby feet are just adorable!
I went from a very normal pregnancy to being labeled a high-risk pregnancy, just like that. So it was a pretty dramatic start to our journey but here we are now and my son has been treated for 3.5 years and his progress is amazing and he’s a super athletic little guy.
So maybe you have arrived here searching the internet frantically for any information about this condition (just like I did a few years ago). Or maybe, you are already traveling the journey and want to share just a small piece of information with others about what it’s like to be a clubfoot parent. Or maybe you want to support someone you love who has found themselves finding out about clubfoot. No matter what reason you’re here, I’m so happy you are.
Here are 10 Things To Know About Clubfoot
Clubfoot is a complex, congenital deformity of the foot caused by the abnormal development of a baby’s bones, ligaments and muscles while the baby is in the womb.
Clubfoot is a relatively common birth defect, as 1 in 1,000 babies are born with clubfoot.
Clubfoot is treatable and the prognosis is promising with proper treatment.
Find a doctor you trust and who is properly trained to treat your child. There’s no shame in seeking a second opinion. We did and couldn’t be happier with that decision.
It’s hard. It’s emotional. Traveling the clubfoot journey is stressful and emotional, especially the first few months. Finding out any little thing could possibly be wrong with your baby is devastating. As a parent, your heart aches when you see your child in any discomfort but it’s necessary to be strong and be committed to the treatment.
It gets easier. I don’t like to make generalizations (all journeys are unique) so I speak from our experience, it did get easier. The casting phase was challenging, the tenotomy was scary, the early days of boots and bar were hard. But, now, the follow-up appointments and the boots and bar are just a part of our routine. This does not mean, I’ve stopped worrying. We still worry as we’ve crossed different bridges but the actual treatment process has gotten easier with time.
It’s worth it. Every shed tear, all the traveled distances, all the appointments, all the worry, all the questions, all the stress. It’s all totally worth it.
Know who you can turn to for support. Make sure they are your backbone when you need it. At times, we need someone to talk to, someone to listen, and someone to push us to stick to the doctor’s orders when it’s hard. Have someone who is your cheerleader, who acknowledges your child’s successes with you, who notices the time on the clock and reminds you it’s time to put shoes on. My husband is the time-keeper in our house and we never make excuses – shoes on, shoes stay on for the prescribed number of hours.
Be consistent. Follow through. Ask questions. Do your research. Clubfoot treatment has come a long way and there are research-based methods for treatment and time schedules that must be followed.
I attribute consistency to our journey “getting easier” now since my son doesn’t know any other way. He’s notorious for asking for “5 more minutes” before we put them on at night and he asks most mornings “is it time to take my shoes off?” BUT if we ask him if he likes his superhero shoes, his response is “yes I do!”
I’ve asked my fair share of questions along the way and there’s no shame in it. As a concerned mama, I’ve wanted to be sure I’m doing everything that’s within my control, to help my son’s treatment be successful.
Don’t listen to the naysayers. There may be the person that asks “can’t you just skip a night?” or “do you think that cast is suppose to be like that?” or “do you really need to wear shoes that long?” This is not support. Do not doubt what you know as a clubfoot parent. Some will say “but at least it’s not something worse.” This is not support.
From a mama’s perspective, we never wish any difficulty on our child and our hearts ache when our child has any pain. I am extremely grateful there is treatment available and that my child has overcome but the above statement undermines what a family has to go through on the clubfoot journey. Ultimately, we all want our kiddos to always be healthy and happy.
One thing I know for sure, clubfoot babies are superhero babies! I’d absolutely love to connect with you via social media or the comments below!