I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve written about our son’s progress with clubfoot treatment, and honestly that’s because it’s been a while since anything very exciting has happened — and that’s not something I’m going to complain about! But I’ve had several people reach out upon finding my blog or Youtube channel after a diagnosis and it’s such a joy to be able to share some hope and love, plus maybe some helpful resources. So, the update is: bracing is going swimmingly! (Video at the end — I meant to publish this post about six months ago but didn’t get around to filming it in time… so just roll with it ha!)
Jonas started walking at 14 months old. My eldest started at 12 months so it was hard not to compare but I know every kid is different, and sure enough he was ready when the time came! Now he’s cruising, running, climbing (a LOT. Having a little boy is a whole new experience) and generally getting into plenty of mischief!
He passed his latest six-month check-up with flying colors!
(I love that very serious, observant look — he’s a dream!) We had noticed he seems to rolls his ankles a lot — not in the painful bruising sense, more like he has hyper-flexible ankles side to side, and they do seem a little weak. Maybe it’s just my imagination but he tends to articulate one foot a little bit less than the other so we brought it up at our appointment. Our doctor took some X-rays just to be sure but wasn’t especially concerned — it makes sense, there’s always going to be some natural variation.
(He was captivated by that X-ray machine! And look at that cute little child-size lead apron! The tech ended up having to hold one foot down with a clear plexiglass plate though, you can see it in the x-ray below — that foot kept popping up, ha!)
Don’t you just love those pudgy feet?! The doctor said any disparity is likely because one foot has a bit less of an arch (hard to see in the x-rays but when you look closely there is a slight difference), but it’s nothing to be worried about at this point.
Otherwise, his feet are the same size and look great! I bring all these little things up, but they’re not noticeable to the average observer: you’d never know he was born with clubfeet just by seeing him running around the playground! He still gives me the stink-eye when I refuse to let him climb the death trap…
He loves going on walks with the family, collecting rocks, playing in the dirt, jumping in puddles… all the typical kid stuff!
We still brace 12 hours a day, for a long time we kept the boots on during naps AND night but at a recent appointment our doctor said we were fine to just do nights, so I’ll admit it’s nice to only deal with the boots at night. He sleeps just fine — let me rephrase that: he sleeps basically the same as our non-clubfoot daughter did at that age. Still wakes up some nights, but that’s because I’ve been too attached to the binky to cut the cord! I know, I’m a wimp. (This was written six months ago, we successfully ditched the binky when we moved — it sort of just… disappeared in all the upheaval, ha! And it totally worked. He just kind of forgot about it!) But if there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that blaming sleep issues on clubfoot is not helpful.
Putting the boots on at night still goes really well, sometimes we give him a bottle of warm milk to calm him down while we put them on, otherwise he’s trying to escape! Not because it hurts or bugs him, just that he’s nearly two years old and has no interest in lying flat on his back for more than point-five seconds! (This has also gotten easier now that he’s 2 1/2 years old, for sure!)
(The book he’s holding is this sweet, whimsical story about clubfoot by Sonia Alcon, a fellow clubfoot mama!) The brace is just part of our nighttime routine — warm milk, brace while we sing a song, read a scripture and say prayers. His big sister is usually really helpful at running to get his BNB when we ask her! I’m glad it’s working, but I think what makes the difference is having a very set routine and that he doesn’t know any different. Bedtime = BNB, and that’s that.
He’s gone up several boot sizes at this point and we just switched to the wider bar at our latest appointment. I was doing some cleaning and came across all his old boots and couldn’t believe how teeny his first boots were. Time flies!
I’m also happy to report that he’s never had any sores or blisters due to his boots. I was so worried and prepared for the worst! There was certainly some redness the first month or so (their skin is so tender still after casting!) but after a few months it was smooth sailing and, knock on wood, it’s stayed that way. I find it most secure to cross the top two straps, and of course those boots are on nice and snug. Thin, long triple-roll socks are also helpful, they keep things smooth and dry. Anything with characters or stitching or thick knit looks horrendously uncomfortable so we try to avoid those.
I had an aha! moment the other day: he’s a champ about all of this, but I know it’s hardly super comfortable to sleep in a restrictive brace. So I decided one day to give him a nice, long, foot massage, with baby oil and everything, and he was so relaxed and calm through it all! I should definitely do that more often, he is a sweetheart and deserves to have those poor feet pampered every once in a while ❤
We’ll be bracing until about 4-5 years old, relapse rates go down significantly for every extra year of bracing so we’ll stick to the program as long as we can. And there you have it — our Jonas is doing awesome and we hope he stays that way!