Joshua’s Hip Dysplasia and Bilateral Talipes Story

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Joshua was born naturally (but had to be induced by breaking my waters due to being late) with Hip Dysplasia and congenital dislocation of the knees (his legs were completely straight up by his ears) as well as having bilateral talipes.  We had absolutely no idea what was wrong with him and neither did the midwives.  We were left in the labour room for 6 hours Googling what could be wrong.  They kept talking about his Hip Dysplasia and I kept telling them to focus on his knees or lack of!

We were referred to Oxford Nuffield Hospital where, at 5 days old, his legs were cast at an angle where they could get as much bend as possible.  We went back every week for new casts and an attempt to make an increase bend.  We did this for 4 weeks and were told it wasn’t working.  This was exhausting as he was in agony every week.  He was booked in for surgery on his knees at 10 weeks old and to be put into a hip spica cast.  Steps had sorted us a car seat to fit the spica cast after the surgery.  From birth to this point I wore him everywhere in a wrap.  It was the only way for him to be comfortable and the only way he slept with his legs in a V-shape around me.

When he came out of surgery we were told his hips had locked into place and the spica cast was not needed.  I truly believe this was due to me wearing him everywhere.  We didn’t know if he would ever walk.

We went through genetic tests which took a long time and he was eventually diagnosed with mild Larsen’s Syndrome. Complete fluke as we were tested and it’s not in either of mine nor my husband’s genes anywhere.  We have an elder daughter together and my husband has another daughter from a previous relationship with no issues.

We continued to do flexion exercises with his knees and feet and eventually he was given orthopaedic shoes.  He crawled at around 12 months then, March 2020 we hit lockdown and we were forced to slow down.  While renovating our garden on the 26th March Joshua stood up from his little chair and walked about 4 steps.  My husband and I stared at each other, mouths open.  Since then he’s not stopped.

He’s 4 now and he’s still a handful.  He runs (usually in the opposite direction, towards traffic!) all the time and he’s fast!!!  He seems to be double-jointed and can bend in some very odd positions: I’m sure he’s going to be a gymnast!  He has astounded us and everyone who knows him.  He has learned to overcome obstacles which may require bending his knees a lot by swinging his legs round!

We still have check-ups and physio on his feet.  He was wearing orthopaedic shoes until recently as we now have personally moulded insoles that we can put into high tops (must be wide enough though as they’re quite chunky!) and we are having an OT attend his preschool to help him be more comfortable with his friends on the carpet as he can’t cross his legs.

I have faith that when he knows that the exercises will help, he will get that bend like any other little boy.  Currently he can bend to about 90-100 degrees.  Nothing stops him and my fears for him are slowly disappearing.

Good luck to anyone facing any difficulties.  It’s easy to feel so alone and lost but there are people out there who can help and share similar experiences.  Don’t lose faith on what your little ones can achieve!