Noah was born in 2008 and was perfectly healthy except he was born with Talipes (Club Foot) affecting his left foot. His treatment started immediately with physiotherapy and at 10 days old he began his Ponseti treatment.
Noah’s Ponseti treatment was complex and spanned many years. Initially it consisted of weekly plaster casts on his foot and leg then a few months later he had his first operation to lengthen his tendon, this resulted in three weeks in a spica plaster.
The spica plaster caused many challenges most significantly he was unable to travel in a car seat, use his pushchair or sleep in his cot in addition to difficulties with nappy changes, bathing and finding clothes to fit.
The next stage of treatment the following year was the wearing of Boots and Bars for 23 hours a day for three months. After three months this was reduced to 12 hours a day. In the early days of wearing his boots Noah had very bad blisters and open sores on his feet due to the tight fitting of the boots.
A second operation took place in January 2010 followed by three weeks in plaster then back into Boots and Bars for 23 hours a day for a further 12 weeks. By the end of April he started wearing his Boots and Bars for around 12 hours a day during the night. He continued to wear his boots and bars until his 5th Birthday. This was a milestone in his treatment.
As a result of his talipes his left leg is shorter and thinner than his unaffected right leg and his left foot is now, at the age of 9, five shoe sizes smaller than his right.
Treatment for his leg started in 2012 with a raise being added to his shoe to correct the leg length. He has had scans to accurately measure the difference in his leg and an MRI scan to rule out other problems. Which it did – thankfully!
In May 2015 Noah and a team of 14 friends took part in the Great Birmingham Mini Run to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Physiotherapy department. It was a great day and Noah ran the 3k with the team raising over £2,000.
In July 2015 Noah started 6 weeks of casting to further correct his foot as it had started to turn inwards again. Throughout this time he had been to school, played football with his team and carried on as normal, the only thing he was unable to do is swim!
In January 2016 Noah started further casting prior to a tendon transfer operation. The tendon transfer was to further correct his foot. Following surgery he was in a cast and non-weight bearing for 7 weeks, this meant he was in a wheelchair for school and used a walking frame for shorter distances, however, hopping was his preferred method of travel!
When his cast came off in March we all expected he would be back to running straight away, in reality it took over a week for him to put his foot to the ground and attempt to walk!
6 weeks after having his plaster off he was still a little unsteady on his feet and struggling to run. However, his determination to play football along with his friends got him moving and over the May Bank Holiday weekend he took part in a football tournament managing to play a few minutes in each game and came close to scoring a penalty. He was then able to join his team on stage at the end of the event to collect his trophy where the team came 3rd, which is a massive achievement.
An MRI scan in the summer of 2017 showed severe abnormalities in his foot and ankle including tarsal coalition and the need for further surgery to improve movement in his ankle using a metal plate to stop the growth of his leg bone. This surgery is now scheduled for May this year (2018). Noah will also require further surgery to correct his leg length, this will happen at some stage during his teens.
We have never been concerned by Noah’s condition and have embraced his treatment; in turn, Noah has an understanding of his condition and his treatment and leads a completely normal life, in fact as most people will know he likes nothing better than football, golf, tennis, swimming and any other sport!
“I first became aware of Steps the day my Son was born. We had no idea he had talipes until he was born and had never heard of it before. On the day he was born my dad went straight online to do a bit of research and he soon found Steps and all we needed to know about the condition. This very quickly put our mind at rest that everything was going to be ok. In the early days Steps put me in touch with another local family who had a daughter the same age and we were able to ‘compare notes’ and support each other.
We have attended a couple of the Christmas parties organised by Steps and it has been good to meet with families who have been or are going through the same thing as you are. We have tried to give something back to the charity and have made donations over the years by raising money through coffee mornings.”
The work of Steps UK helps families like Noah’s. From information and advice to funding for specialist equipment, we help every step of the way. You can help us to continue to support families like Noah’s by donating today here. You could also take part in our 1000 Foot Challenge – a sponsored climb for World Clubfoot Day and Clubfoot Awareness Week. Let’s get every child affected by these conditions living a normal life and enjoying activities that every child should be enjoying! Well done Noah on all your amazing achievements so far and all those to come!