Clubfoot support group set up by Blackpool mum after son was born with 'wonky feet' condition that required corrective surgery
Parents of a baby born with bilateral talipes have set up a group for families of children with the hereditary condition after discovering there was no emotional support to help them.
Becky Green, 26, was told during her 20-week scan that her baby, AJ, would be born with bilateral talipes.
The healthcare worker from South Shore had never heard of the condition - even though her partner, Sean Chesters, 29, was also born with it.
But when she heard it referred to it as ‘clubfoot’ she knew what it meant.
Becky said: “I just broke down wondering if the baby would be okay. It’s hereditary, so Sean was blaming himself. We felt so much worry and uncertainty as first time parents, and didn’t know where to turn.”
Their baby, AJ, was born on May 16. He was perfectly healthy, but with ‘wonky feet’ that requires extensive procedures.
It will take him longer to hit his milestones of walking and crawling but he should eventually be able to walk as normal thanks to the treatment.
“His feet were fully turned in, so he was manipulated and casted every week to train his feet into the right position.”
Doctors had to snip the tendons in AJ’s ankles to enable his feet to flex up and down.
And on August 17 he was fitted with a corrective brace, comprising a metal bar and special boots that attach at each end.
He wears these for 23 hours a day until November 2022, then at night time for the remainder of a five year period.
“They grow so quickly so the brace is needed to maintain the position otherwise they can relapse.”
But Becky is hopeful as Sean, who was also born with the condition, has no serious lasting issues.
“You wouldn’t even know to look at him. He walks with a bit of limp occasionally, and he struggles to find shoes because one foot is wider than other.”
Becky, said the medical staff have been brilliant but didn’t know where to turn for guidance.
She said they were given information leaflets by staff at the foetal medicine unit at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, but wished there was some emotional support available.
Which is why she started her own group on Facebook - called Walk In My Wonky Footsteps.
“We were left wondering what would happen after the baby arrived. We would hate for anyone to feel the way we did.”
The couple have shared their story on the Facebook group, documenting their son's progression to show that bilateral talipes can be easily resolved most of the time.
And the group will also be arranging meet ups around the North West, starting this Saturday August 27th in Stanley Park.
They hope to share stories and concerns over a picnic, and let older children have a kickabout.
“We also really want to show the children that it’s normal. Sometimes we walk down the street and people stare and think you’ve done something bad but we want people to see that it’s nothing bad. We just want to be a community and support each other.”
Families are invited to join the Walk In My Wonky Footsteps Facebook group, and are welcome to attend the meet up at Stanley Park cafe at 1pm on Aug 27.