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news News Thursday, June 18, 2020 Thursday, June 18, 2020 11:32 AM - Thursday, June 18, 2020 11:32 AM

Rehabilitation department staff helps patient with arthrogryposis achieve major milestone

Rehabilitation department staff helps patient with arthrogryposis achieve major milestone

Braxton, 4, grinned from ear to ear as he sang one of his favorite songs, I’m Still Standing, with his therapist, Trish. As his mother, Lara, looked on, Braxton pushed himself off Trish’s hands and stood freely for the first time. The song, quite literally, explains personal goals he has achieved – thanks to the rehabilitation department staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville.

Standing may seem like a small feat for a child of Braxton’s age, but it is a major victory for a patient with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). AMC is a condition that causes joint contractures or hardening of the muscles and limited joint function due to unique development of the muscles.

As baby Braxton made his debut into the world, Lara knew that he would be born with what looked like a clubbed foot and possibly clubbed hand. However, at his birth, the delivery staff had never seen a case quite like Braxton’s, with his arms and legs seemingly unable to bend. A diagnosis was hard to pinpoint.

After three full days in the hospital, Lara finally received Braxton’s AMC diagnosis. While Lara felt instant relief to have identified the condition, many questions quickly followed. Her doctors referred her to the Greenville Shriners Hospital for the best specialized care.

Since becoming a patient in 2017, Braxton has undergone three surgeries to help improve his mobility. Lauren Hyer, M.D., corrected Braxton’s bilateral clubfoot, a hip abnormality and a leg length discrepancy. She also corrected toe tendons that were overly tight and causing pain.

In order for Braxton’s operations to provide the best outcome, intensive rehabilitation was required.

“Braxton did not have the trunk strength to sit on the floor without support until he was almost 1 year old,” explained Lara. “I credit his ability to do that to Shriners and Mrs. Trish’s hard work with him. Now at almost 4, he can get himself into a seated position and is trying to bear weight on his legs.”

Along with achieving visible milestones, Lara also mentioned that Braxton has come a long way emotionally. “It’s a prize for him to go to therapy,” said Lara. “Braxton has a second family with his rehabilitation therapists. They have spoiled him his entire life.”

She has noticed an increase in Braxton’s mobility, thanks to the care he has received in rehabilitation. His therapist pushes him to perform his best in sessions. Therefore, Braxton pushes himself outside of therapy too.

There are many reasons Lara loves that Braxton is receiving care from the rehabilitation department staff, but the community it has provided their family tops the list. Connecting with other moms who have children with AMC that are around Braxton’s age allows them to see that they have a large support system.

“It’s the best decision we have made, hands down,” said Lara. Whether it is with a physical therapist or an occupational therapist, Lara said she feels confident that her son is receiving the best treatment available.