Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The results of Toe-Walking...

Well, if you've ever wanted to know what can come of a child that toe walks... have I got a story for you.

First- a little background... our oldest son, BJW, has been a toe walker- and not just recently, or because of an injury- he's walked on his toes, well, for as long as he's had toes.

I took him to his Dr. about 4 months ago and she said, "The good news is that BJW CAN stand flat on his feet and so should be able to walk "normal"... the bad news is that he seems to have formed a habit of walking on his toes so it won't be easy to break."

Paul and I then committed to really helping him break his toe-walking habit.

We tried to "encourage" him to walk "normal"... we tried "telling him sternly" to walk "normal" and we tried taking away toys if he didn't walk "normal" but this kid continued, despite all attempts on our part, to walk on his toes. UUUUUUUUUUUUGH.

Yesterday I took him to physical therapy for evaluation and treatment for this toe walking thing. I thought for sure they would tell him to do some exercises, BJW would be miserable (TOWARD THE THERAPIST) because he had to do these exercises... and within a few weeks my kid would walk more like the rest of the male population and LESS like the prancing, ballet toe dancers. You know what I mean???

So why is this the conversation I endured with the therapist??? Feel free to follow what I said out loud compared to (all I thought in my mind.)

Therapist: Well Mrs. W, the good news is that he doesn't need surgery.

Me: He doesn't? (Well, I guess that's good. Hmmmm... does he mean he COULD have? Boy was I confused. I thought I just brought my kid here because he was walking like a girl.)

Therapist: No. He doesn't need surgery. HOWEVER, in measuring his range of motion the minimal ROM he should have is 10 degrees and he has, well, 7.

Me: Oh. I see. (Uhhhh, WHAT?)

Therapist: We should probably consider putting him in double casts.


Therapist: For whatever reason, probably partly hereditary and partly habit... it appears he has lost a good bit of his range of motion in his ankles and so now can't actually walk "normal" because his ankle doesn't go beyond a 90 degree angle. The double casts would allow us to stabilize him at his highest ROM therefore stretching his tendon. We would do this about three times until he achieved a ROM that was conducive to walking "Normal".

Me: Oh. I see. (UMMMMM... NO FREAKING WAY!!! It's JULY. YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME. We go to a WATERPARK every day. It's 90 degrees . He won't be able to walk or run or play. YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME. We don't have air conditioning. He'll be sweating and itchy in his cast. THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN DO THIS TO ME... oh... or him. Yeah, you can't do this to him...........................................either.)

Therapist: I'm just trying to achieve the most amount of success in the shortest period of time for him. You were right to bring him in because this is a problem. The casts would enable the tendons to stretch under consistent resistance.

Me: It's that very resistance I'm concerned about. I'm going to need another option here. I too want him to walk well which is why I pursued this evaluation. HOWEVER, at the risk of sounding like a TERRIBLE mother... I can't put the kid in double casts in July. There have to be a series of exercises we can do at home that will encourage tendon lengthening... the reality is that it's been 7 and a half years to date... pushing off double casts until fall can't possibly make that much of a NEGATIVE difference, vs. what double casts will do to our family right now. (YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Therapist: Oh- well, though not nearly as effective, and not really what I'd recommend at this stage, we can start him on a range of exercises. He'll have to do them several times daily, and we'll need to see him here three times a week to chart his progress.

Me: EXCELLENT. (I knew you'd see it my way.)

And so yesterday, we spent an hour with the therapist doing exercises that we'll continue here in our home, as well as back at the office 3x a week. Not sure when we'll reevaluate Brenden's progress... but I'm pretty sure if anything more is to come of this treatment... ie, DOUBLE CASTS... they won't "come" until September at the earliest.

Ahhhhh... motherhood.


Tara said...

I had double casts in July at around age 6. Not fun. And we had a pool!! (That my parents didn't open that summer since I couldn't use it..I'm sure Pam loved that). I hope the exercises work for him!!!!

Pam said...

LOL Chelle - this cracked me up!!!Thanks - I needed that.

And Tara, I do not remember that at all (the pool part, not the casts!).

I hope maybe the therapy will do the trick all on its own and he won't need the casts, even in September.

Chelle' said...

WOW! Tara- I can't believe you were double casted. Ick. Clearly your mom was a better mom than I am as I refuse to let this happen this summer.

And WOW!!! Pam- don't you have a "mom-memory"... as in LACK there of. :) I can't remember a thing since I've had children... let alone from when I was 6!!