Indianna was diagnosed with clubfoot when her mum, Jennifer, was only 12 weeks pregnant. Clubfoot – otherwise known as Congenital Talipes Equino Varus (CTEV) – is a congenital condition in which the tendons (tissue connecting the muscles to the bone) in the foot are shorter than usual, resulting in the foot being twisted out of shape. It is the most common congenital deformity, affecting one in 1000 live births around the world.
“When the diagnosis came, we were kind of expecting it, as our first child, Oliver, also had the condition. Of course, we were feeling sad and emotional, but that only lasted around five minutes before our sonographer told us the amazing news that we were having a girl! That news far outweighed the clubfoot diagnosis,” Jennifer said.
Indianna, now three, continues to receive treatment for her clubfoot and is currently undergoing the Ponseti method, which corrects congenital clubfoot without invasive surgery. Instead, a plaster cast slowly manipulates the connective tissue, cartilage and bone to bring the foot back to normal function. It is totally painless for the patient.
Indi received her first lot of Ponseti casting when she was a week old. She lived in this cast for six weeks, before receiving a tenotomy – a surgical procedure which involves the division of a tendon – followed by further casting. She then had to wear a ‘boots and bar’ brace for 23 hours a day, until she was six months old. A ‘boots and bar’ is a brace that is made up of two shoes attached to an aluminium bar, which helps to set Indi’s feet at the correct distance apart.
In her short life, Indi has relapsed three times, requiring a further two tenotomies and a tendon transfer operation to tighten the tendon on her weak side so her clubfoot would be realigned.
Indi is currently working with her physio through her third relapse, so she has spent the last four weeks in weekly casts. Next week, she will go back into her ‘boots and bar’ brace.
“Having clubfoot doesn’t affect Indi at all. She keeps up with her big brother and all her friends… It honestly blows my mind how resilient she is, and how she just gets on with it. She doesn’t let anything stand in her way,” Jennifer said.
“We didn’t know much about clubfoot until we had Oliver, but six years on we’ve learnt a lot, and clubfoot is so common. Strangers sometimes stare and say negative things when they see a baby in a cast, but we now know ignore them. At the end of the day, we’re just so grateful that it’s only clubfoot we’re dealing with.”
As she continues to grow, Indi remains positive and loves hanging out with her older brother, playing with her dolls, and using her very vivid imagination to explore her surroundings…
For more information about clubfoot