Hello Family and Friends,
I don’t remember who I’ve talked to about this and who I haven’t. So, I’m providing all of the information below as well as an update where things currently stand.
Basically, since Ariel started walking, she has always walked on her toes. She walks on her toes, stands on her toes, runs on her toes, JUMPS on her toes……all without putting her heels down. We’ve been watching it since she was little but haven’t really taken action because her pediatrician was hoping she would grow out of it.
Well, at the beginning of this school year, she started having more problems with falling down- mostly when she had been running and the forward momentum of being on her toes would just propel her to the ground. And she has also fallen here at home. So, we brought it up at her 4 year old check up recently and her doctor referred us to a pediatric orthopedic specialist to have it checked out.
We had that appointment this morning. Basically, the doctor told us that a lot of children walk on their toes when they first start learning to walk. Most children grow out of it, but some do not. Ariel is one of those that did not. The problem is that with always walking up on her toes, the calf muscle never has a chance to stretch. It is never stretched out and as she gets older and her bone grows, the muscle does not lengthen with the bone. Most people can flex their foot past 90 degrees (past the point where you can stand flat footed). Try it……..Ariel can barely get to that 90 degree mark, she definitely cannot flex her foot past it. The doctor felt that she is at the pivotal point to correct this issue with little intervention. This is what we have prayed about because my fear was they were going to mention surgery. Thankfully, they did not mention it and the doctor thinks this can be corrected easily.
Ariel will have to wear leg braces for at least the next 6 months. (will look similar to this)
We also will have to help her stretch her legs/feet several times a day, every day. The braces will simply help her to keep her heels down and help stretch the calf muscle. If all goes well, she can take the braces off after 6 months and the problem should be corrected. I’m a little worried about how she is going to handle it, but at the same time, she is such a resilient kid. And she is in an inclusion prek class at school. (if you don’t know what an inclusion class is, it is a class that includes some special education students.) We don’t know what the conditions of the special education students are, they can’t legally tell us. But I think there is a child in the class that has leg braces- maybe for cerebral palsy? Anyway, God has an amazing way of working and maybe part of the reason she is in this class is because God knew that we had this challenge coming our way! It helped in the doctor’s office to explain it in a way that helped her to relate to another child her age…..and somebody that she knows. I am hoping it will also help her to think of these leg braces as just something that she has to wear and not make her feel weird or left out. We have always made a point to acknowledge that some people are born with certain conditions and that is exactly how God made them and they are perfect the way they are. I don’t want my children to ever look down on someone because they have a disability- whether physical or mental. But I do have to admit that it is different when it is your child and I find myself already concerned about looks and stares when we go out somewhere- even to the grocery store. I guess God is going to be teaching me something during this time also!! She gets her leg braces the day before Thanksgiving which will give her time to get used to them before she goes back to school. Ultimately, I’m just glad that she isn’t going to have to go through anything more intensive- although I know this will be an adjustment for all of us. Please pray for us during this time in our lives!!
Also, a quick update on me. Basically, things are going well. I’m still having to go day by day with my back issues. I have accepted that this is going to be a lifelong journey for me. Some days are good, some days are bad. Some days are just okay. But I am keeping up with my exercises and trying to limit how much I pick Matthew up. I do have an ergo carrier that takes all the weight off me if I wear him on my back. I literally can’t feel him at all when he is in it! That helps tremendously when I know that I will have to carry him for any extended period of time. Other than that, God is definitely teaching me to be humble and ask for help. I’ve always been able to do what I want- move furniture around, for example, and I can’t do that anymore. I have to learn to be patient, wait on Matt for his help, and know my limitations!! That is always a challenge for me! but thank you for the prayers and thank you for those that have inquired about my back. It means so much to me that you have remembered!