Saturday, January 19, 2008

Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toewalking

When Cameron was about two years old, we noticed that when he got excited, he went up on his toes. Eventually, we realized he was walking on his toes the majority of the time. When he entered preschool last year as a three-year-old, his teacher suggested we intervene by having his gait evaluated. So, I made an appointment for him to see an orthopedist at our local children's hospital. (Side note: His doctor turned out to be the same doctor I saw as a teenager -- 20 years ago -- for chronic back pain. Delaware really is a small state.) The orthopedist and his intern evaluated Cameron and diagnosed him with idiopathic toewalking. We were relieved at the diagnosis since continued toewalking can be a symptom of some serious conditions: cerebal palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism, just to name a few. Naturally, we had guessed this would be the diagnosis, but we also received some good news in that his Achilles tendons were still quite flexible and not tightened much by his habitual toewalking (which is not often the case). The doctor prescribed physical therapy, and I was instructed how to stretch the heel cords every day.

Unfortunately, after six months of these at-home exercises, his toewalking had not improved an inkling. So, over Christmas break, we had a re-evaluation at the orthopedist. He agreed that the exercises had not been successful, so we were sent off to have Cameron's legs casted for leg braces. Lucky for him, orthotics have come a looonnngg way since I had a back brace. He got to choose the design and colors of the braces, which really helped with his level of anxiety. (It also helped that they had an outer space design that resembled Cameron's newest obsession, Planet Heroes.) I have to say, for a little boy that is usually quite dramatic, he was so serene and even angelic through the entire process. A few days ago, we had an appointment to have his braces fitted. He was actually excited to get them! Here they are:

You can't actually see them on Cameron yet, because the most frustrating part of this story is that I have been to six stores attempting to find shoes that will fit over these suckers. They have to be a wide width sneaker with ties (and that combination is easy to find in infant and adult sizes, but not so much in his toddler size). Wish me luck as I continue my pilgrimage for new wide shoes this weekend. More importantly, wish Cameron luck that these braces will correct his toewalking, and that by June (when he is evaluated again), he will be able to take them off. That would be a wonderful outcome!
P.S. Update: We were able to find shoes over the weekend at New Balance (they have extra wide widths with ties and slipped on without too much extra effort). Of course, Cameron didn't like the ones that were on sale for $19.99. He liked the ones that were not on sale for over twice the price that had to be special ordered. But hey, if it means he will happily wear them, I will happily pay for them.


Anderson Family said...

My boys are loving Planet Heroes these days too. Good luck in finding the shoes.

Kristin said...

You're poor little guy! Man! Hopefully this will work for him! Good luck to you!!! Keep us posted on his progress!

Chaela said...

I hope you are able to find the right shoes, Kristin, and that the braces help! I like the design on them. And that is so wild that he's seeing the same Dr you did when you were younger! It's a small world!

Kelly said...

It's good that Cameron felt comfortable with them - I am sure picking out the design helped a lot! Crossing my fingers that you find the right shoes soon. Have you searched online? I have a girlfriend with unusually long feet and she was able to find her size online, whereas they were impossible to find in stores.