Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Clubfoot Files: Our Nightly Routine & Pressure Saddles

I've had a few people stop by this blog who are also on the clubfoot journey with their little one (hi!), so I'm writing these Clubfoot Files to share what we are going through and what we are learning.  I know I like reading other parents' blogs about it - the more info you can arm yourself with, the better!  It helps to hear what real people are going through.  If this isn't your cup of tea, feel free to skip this post. I'll keep posting about other stuff here too. :)

Welcome to another session of the Clubfoot Files, age 20 months edition! 

It's been a while since I've written a post about it, mostly because the treatment of Harper's clubfoot is a very small part of our lives at this point.  Pretty much once you pass into the phase of normal night wear, things don't change too much.  You put the shoes on at night, and keep at it for the next few years.  Pretty awesome to know for those parents who are in the stressful stage of casting or early bracewear, right?

We have a pretty nice little routine going these days, and for quite some time I've wanted to capture this time of our lives to remember when Harper is done wearing her brace.  

With some tripod help, here's a picture of our nightly routine (with a cameo by pregnant belly and pregnant double chin!)

It takes us about 3 minutes to put the shoes on.  Harper is very cooperative and used to this routine by now. Except she is a very busy toddler so I need Tony's help for the entertainment portion of the show.  He holds her, reading a book or counting fingers or going through the animal noises while I put the shoes on.  I have to brag - I've become quite the expert.  I can get those things on in no time!  I no longer have to mark the shoes to know what holes to use.  I don't have to check the little windows to be sure her heels are down.  I know how to hold her foot in place while lacing the buckles.  All of this took practice.  I was unsteady and slow for quite some time.  I say all this just to let you other parents who are earlier in treatment know that (ok, I'm a broken record now...) it gets easier!  It really does!

For the record, she's not always naked during this process - it was just a warm day, post-bath :)

I wanted to share a piece of advice for those dealing with blisters or sores on the tops of the feet.  I've blogged before about how this has been an issue for us repeatedly.  She went quite a few months last summer with perpetual open sores... (see this post for more about that - and the treatment we used - duoderm!)  I used moleskin to pad the top tongues of the shoes and this helped and kept our sores at bay... sort of ... but with each new pair of shoes they would come back with a vengeance as she broke them in.  

And you know what?  Some kind reader commented that I should buy some pressure saddles, and I just never did.  I don't know why I didn't listen!!  Pressure saddles have been a lifesaver for us! 

See those white pads sitting on top of the tongue of the shoes (under the middle strap)?  Those are pressure saddles, sometimes called pringles (they look like the chips!).  They are made of the same silicone-ish plastic that the inside of the shoes are made of, so they are quite durable.  They have little holes where the straps thread through and they help displace the pressure that the straps put on the skin in that crucial area.  We haven't had any issues since we started using these.  Such a simple fix that I wish I had used sooner! 

{We bought ours from MD Orthopaedics, the same company that makes the shoes.  You can see the pressure saddles here on their website under Products.  I think it was about $25 with shipping to get these.  Well worth the price!}

That white stuff on the floor is the cornstarch we still use on her feet to keep them dry and help keep the shoes from rubbing.  We always have white dots all over the carpet!)

For quite a while, Harper has been able to stand in her crib with her shoes on.  She has no problem at all rolling over, moving around her crib, getting up, or even walking around with the bar on.  She just scoots her legs and makes it work.  I take this as a good sign that she's comfortable, but also that we will be able to make it work once she's in a real bed and might have to get up to use the bathroom at night.  (This is our next hurdle to tackle, and I'm not looking forward to it!)

Happy little cheeser.

This post is just my chance to check in further down the road of treatment and say that it all gets easier.  Each day, each month, it gets easier.  It's smooth sailing from here until that magical day when the doctor tells us we can stop wearing the brace forever (on which day I will be terrified.  and won't believe her.  and will have to ask "are you reallly sure???" 100 times).  

I have said time and again that clubfoot really is such a blessing.  It makes us appreciate the little things, like each step she takes.  It's treatable.  Easily.  It takes just a few years of work but then it's over! Gone!  Just like that.  What a blessing it is we have easy access to medical care.  That doctors are trained in a treatment method that involves little more than plaster and an expensive pair of shoes.  What a blessing that this beautiful girl is just as happy as can be, brace and all.

Check out all of my other Clubfoot Files posts here!


  1. She is DARLING, and I'm so glad the treatment has gotten easier and is going well. You're right, we're so lucky to live in a place where medical care is so accessible. Thanks for keeping us updated!!
    Also, you look BEAUTIFUL!! I love the family pictures of the nightly routine. Good reminder to photograph the mundane evening stuff, too. :)

  2. She's so cute!! I'm so glad things are going well and that it's getting easier. Hooray!!

  3. Thank you again for these posts. We are coming up to Z's first birthday and I can't believe how her little feet have changed our lives (for the better!). I am so grateful for the wonderful treatment and specialists we have had access to and for my brave little girl who has been a complete trooper from the get-go (first casts at three days old!). It is so encouraging to read your posts and to see how things will likely progress over the next while. Z is standing now and cruising around furniture and can do it just as well when she has her brace on as when it's off. So cool. Congratulations on the new baby and the very best of luck with it all. Having two is totally exhausting and lots and lots of fun! Best, Georgia

  4. I remember the first week of the boots and bar, and thinking that I'd NEVER get the hang of his boots! But even three months later I've gotten much better at buckling them.

  5. It's always reassuring to hear that the treatments/routines get easier with time. :) One day we're going to have to get our girls together. I'd love to meet Miss Harper and let her know one day what a blessing she's been to me.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to document your experience. For a new mom like me, your posts about Harper's journey are helpful and reassuring.


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