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Harley’s Story

So, on my 20 week scan known as the anomaly scan we found out that Harley unfortunately had isolated left sided talipes. Naturally, Ben and I were really upset. When you find out you’re pregnant, I believe mum mode naturally kicks in – you want everything to be absolutely perfect, and would give anything to make sure your unborn child is developing as they should be. So when you find out that something isn’t quite right its obviously quite tough to deal with. As I had a problem with my leg when I was a baby, I also felt this overwhelming guilt that it was my fault that this problem had occurred.

Now I’m already making it sound like he has something major wrong with him – luckily this is far from the case. He is a 100% healthy baby boy. Talipes is a condition that effects either one or both feet from birth in a child, more often in both. In Harley’s case, it is just the one (left foot). There are two different types of talipes – structural or positional. Structural is where it’s how the foot has grown, whereas positional is merely a case of the baby being scrunched up In the womb. Both types require different treatments. In Harley’s case it is structural, and although that sounds like the worse out of the two, we’re actually really happy it is structural, as children with positional talipes often have problems with their hips. So basically, talipes makes the foot turn inwards or downwards – this can be down to either bone structure, or muscle tissue. In Harley’s case, it is the muscle tissue which is a lot easier to correct.

There is actually no known reason as to why talipes occurs, and no way that it can be prevented. Although it is fairly rare, affecting approximately 1 baby in every 1000 that are born. Luckily talipes causes baby’s absolutely no pain, but is extremely important to be corrected as if it wasn’t it would massively effect their ability to walk as they get older. So it’s important that treatment begins whilst they’re little, as their bones and tissues are easy to manipulate. The treatment for Harley’s case is the Ponseti method. This method has a success rate of about 95%. So, with this method the baby’s foot is placed into a cast all the way from their toes to their thigh. Although it is only the foot affected the whole leg is covered to prevent the cast from slipping off or moving. The cast is changed once a week to gently bend the foot outwards. (This means that baby’s can only have a bath once a week! Which is really sad for Harley as he loves his little baths!). Baby’s usually have about 6-8 casts, however Harley only needs 4 as his isn’t that severe so will only be a 4 week treatment.

He’s on his second cast so far, so we’re half way there! He’s doing so well. Luckily it’s not bothering him much, it’s definitely bothering me way more than it is him, ha! The next picture is a picture of the results after one cast which I think is amazing if you compare it to the top photo. (His leg looks skinnier but that’s just the angle he had his legs at!)

After the casting is complete, he’ll need a little operation. I’m really upset about this, just because I’m obviously really worried. I know he’ll be absolutely fine, but no mum likes the thought of their child needing an operation – especially being so tiny. The operation literally takes 5 minutes, but whether it took 5 minutes or an hour he still has to go under anaesthetic and that’s what I hate. But I guess he won’t remember any of this. And none of this treatment will mean he develops any slower or walks any slower than any other child which is wonderful. The operation just releases the tendon. This is to stop relapse later in life. I’d never ever prevent him from having an operation that he needs regardless of my fears, so he’ll be having that done at the end of the casting period (so approximately 4 weeks from now).

Me and Ben are beyond proud of our little man, he’s doing so well wearing this awful cast. It’s so heavy as well, but will all be worth it once its all done and as mentioned before, will effect his development and walking in no way. So many children have things so much worse than what Harley has so we’re soooo lucky to have such a gorgeous healthy little boy.