Giving hope to children born with Clubfoot

03/Jun/2020     Health

World Clubfoot Day, held on 3 June, aims to raise awareness about clubfoot disability which impacts approximately 1 in 1000 children, making it one of the more common congenital foot deformities.

Mater Children’s Private Hospital offers a Clubfoot Service treating children of all ages with clubfoot. The service is comprised of a team of highly-skilled orthopaedic specialists, paediatric physiotherapists and nursing staff who have extensive experience in the treatment of this condition.

Recently baby Joseph from Papua New Guinea (PNG) was treated by the team after Mater Foundation was generously gifted funding to support a family from the Pacific Islands to receive treatment for Clubfoot.

Physiotherapist Advanced Practice Paediatrics Tracey Bulow said thanks to the generous donation of funds to the Mater Foundation the hospital was able to help Joseph and his family receive medical care by our team here at the Mater.

“Normally children receive treatment for clubfoot at around two weeks of age, where we use the Ponseti method of plastering, surgical procedure to the Achilles tendon and splinting. When Joseph came to the clinic he was four-months-old,” Tracey said.

“He was treated by paediatrician Dr Fifi Djatmiko and surgeon Dr Ivan Astori who were able to correct his feet however while he was in hospital we noticed his growth and development was not optimal and he was missing some of his major milestones. We spoke to his mother Cecilia about investigating further, which she was happy to do.

“Joseph was able to see neurologists, paediatricians, dietitians, and physiotherapists plus underwent an MRI until he received a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.”

Tracey said it was a good outcome as they were able to give the family the additional help they needed to support his development back home.

“Thanks to some astute observations from the clinicians we were able to identify Joseph needed additional help and we were able to use the remainder of the funds for him to access more clinical support in the Mater medical community,” Tracey said.

“Joseph headed back to PNG with straight, corrected feet and home programs from all other specialists so local clinicians could continue his care when he returned home. He also had hand and foot splints provided to take home.

“We still correspond with the family via phone to check his progress and they plan to return to Australia for a follow up appointment. None of this would have been possible without the generous funds donated to Mater Foundation and the help of Maggie Hsieh.”

Tracey believes the care Joseph received at Mater has given him a strong start to life, much more than he was able to access in PNG. His family were overwhelmed with appreciation and now have an accurate diagnosis for their son.

"Joey has been doing very well since our last visit last year, he’s a little fighter. He crawls and climbs and is trying to walk. He wears his boots and bar for 10 hours each day," Cecilia said. 

"We’ve strictly kept to his daily schedule ensuring that he gets his ”bootsie” time. There aren’t any issues with his feet we’re so happy with his progress so far."  

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