“I had a completely normal pregnancy, nothing noted on any scans, so it was quite a surprise when Jessica was born with a foot deformity. Her left foot was right up against her shin and pointing outwards. Within hours of being born, we’d met consultants, had x-rays and had her 1st cast put on. Instead of weekly baby massage/yoga etc meetings that friends were going to, we had weekly cast changes and hospital appointments. After months of casting and x-rays, she was diagnosed with vertical talus – the talus bone in her ankle was in the wrong position, so at 5 months old she had her 1st operation to pin the bones into the right position and tendons and ligaments were adjusted too. After that, more casts were needed until she was able to go into splints for night times.
There are so few children with vertical talus, it was hard to find anyone that has been through similar situations and to get an idea of future treatments and outcomes. Initially it was a little uncertain how much her mobility would be affected but she’s done amazingly. She’s nearly 5 now, just started school and runs and climbs faster and higher than any child her age. You wouldn’t have a clue she went through so much. Luckily, all the treatment has been harder on us as parents than on her. The worry about her mobility; the comments from strangers – “how could I let my baby break her leg?” one lady asked me in the supermarket after seeing Jessica’s leg in cast; missing out on bathing my baby – she had to have baths in hospital to get her casts soaked off for the 1st 6 months of her life. She’s just got on with it all, as children do, and proved that they really are made of strong stuff. The best thing I learnt to do was to not keep worrying about what the future may hold – to take one appointment at a time, and wait to be amazed at how brilliantly children overcome obstacles.
Steps were a great help in those early days, which we’ll always be grateful for. I wish I’d taken more photo’s of her feet throughout her treatment to see the how far she’s come, but hardly have any at all.”