What Happened to His Legs?

Our new little boy is nearly two months old now, and we have been out and about with him a lot lately. Now that the weather is (mostly) warm, people are seeing his legs for the first time, and we are getting a lot of questions about them (when out and about people tend to notice that there is something brace-like on his legs). Since this blog is mostly for friends and family, and I haven't been able to update all of you, I thought I would share some information about our little guy's legs and feet.

M was born with bilateral club feet (which we knew about from ultrasound) and hip dysplasia (which we didn't). The two conditions are often connected, and tend to be genetic. We were referred to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at McMaster Hospital and have been making frequent trips there ever since.

Her plan was to correct the hip first (the primary problem was the left hip), and then the feet. So he is wearing a Pavlik harness, which holds his hips in place. You can see the leg straps on him here. (Kid photos are still links to my Flickr account, where friends and family can see them.) You can also see the angle of his feet in this photo.

While he wasn't thrilled about it initially, he adapted quickly as babies do. He wears the harness 24/7, which means his last real bath was nearly six weeks ago (he gets sponge baths, and we can open sections of the harness to clean under them). You can imagine how he smells! While it isn't fun for any of us, it is working well--the hip is correctly positioned now, and we are just waiting another week or two for the socket to grow a bit more around the ball of the joint. 

After the harness comes off, we will begin treatment of the feet. The plan is serial casting, to gradually stretch them into the correct position. Beyond that, I only know what I have read--there will likely be a period after the casting where he has to wear special boots with a bar between them, all the time at first and then likely just overnight.

So that's what's going on with the baby's legs!