Mark born with bilateral talipes in 1972

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Hi my name is Mark and I was born with Bi-lateral talipes in 1972. I was under the care of Mr Scott at Addenbrooks in Cambridge for most of my early life which meant weekly visits to the hospital to have splints and callipers fitted. I remember the pain when I wore them especially through the night as I could never get used to the large bar on the front moving my bed sheets around. My parents would tell me that I was very determined and if someone said I couldn’t do something, I would do it to prove them wrong. This was evident when our GP said I would never walk but apparently my brother became very frustrated when I wouldn’t play so said “why don’t you just walk” and I started to walk at that time which was around 4 years old.

I carried on the weekly visits until I was 9 when I underwent tendon transfer surgery in both feet.  The main downside of having this operation was I could not take part in football or cricket with my friends. The operation was done in early summer so I spent the rest of the holidays in plaster and using a wheel chair. Following the operation I under went lot’s of physio and used the wobble board a lot to build strength. I was finally discharged from hospital when I was 13 and felt a lot more able to do things like ski-ing, running, playing hockey etc.

When I was 21 I joined the Royal Navy. I was initially concerned about the medical but they asked more questions about a recent cricket injury than my ankles so I joined in 1994 and spent the next 8 years travelling, working hard and also promoting the Navy to schools, colleges and the general public in the careers service.

I am now living in the North West with my wife and 2 children. I work for Newground supporting people back into work which is also rewarding. I now have to visit Wrightington Hospital regularly for arthroscopies and other surgery and cannot do things most people can do but I still try although I am slower! I think the best piece of advice is to be positive and be determined not to let talipes keep you from doing what you want to do.