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news News Monday, May 13, 2019 Monday, May 13, 2019 3:24 PM - Monday, May 13, 2019 3:24 PM

No distance too far for the best medical care

Child born with multiple conditions overcomes many obstacles

No distance too far for the best medical care

Being born with one condition can be challenging enough, but when your child is born with multiple issues it can feel overwhelming and daunting at times. Adding location and lack of specialized medical care can make your world feel like it has stopped.

Faisal is a funny, lively, 5-year-old boy who loves to run, play with Legos and spend time with this little brother. He has come a long way since birth and his parents credit his accomplishments to Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington.

“The care that we have received from Lexington Shriners Medical Center is beyond our imagination,” said Mohammed, Faisal’s dad.

Faisal was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital (AMC) and bilateral clubfoot.

AMC is a term used to describe tight joints (contractures), present at birth, in more than two body parts. Most of the time, arthrogryposis is located in the arms and/or legs, and affects the child’s bones, muscles and joints. It may affect other parts of the body too, including the nerves, lungs and bladder.

Clubfoot is one of the most common birth defects, and boys are affected with club feet twice as often as girls. Clubfoot is a condition present at birth where the foot points downward while the toes and bottom of foot point inward.

Prior to moving to Kentucky, Faisal’s feet had already been operated on. During that surgery there were problems with circulation in his left foot, preventing the surgeon from correcting his left foot. Faisal’s parents were informed that if he had more surgeries on his feet, he might lose his left foot.

When Vishwas Talwalkar, M.D., and Janet Walker, M.D., pediatric orthopaedic surgeons at Shriners Medical Center, first met Faisal, he was walking on the tops of his feet and was only able to bend his knees 15 degrees.

“It was hard on his mom and I to see Faisal in so much pain and hear the possibility that he may never walk,” Mohammed said. “But Drs. Walker and Talwalkar, along with the entire Shriners medical team, were ready to help, and it is because of them that Faisal walks today.”

Faisal’s medical treatment has consisted of serial casting, five different surgeries, custom-fitted orthotics, therapy, walkers, and a whole lot of love and encouragement.

Due to the circulation problems in Faisal’s left foot, Dr. Talwalkar and Dr. Walker chose to use slow correction to help fix his complex clubfoot and ankle deformity. They attached an Ilizarov apparatus to his lower left leg. The Ilizarov technique involves placing tension wires through the bony structures of the clubfoot to realign the joint surfaces and foot anatomy.

Today Faisal is able to walk with the bottoms of his feet touching the floor, bend his knees at a full 90 degrees and run short distances. He has found independence in the small things, including playing with this brother, feeding himself, getting dressed and using the restroom without having to be carried.

“No matter the concern, question or fear that we had as parents, Dr. Walker and everyone at Shriners Medical Center was always there to talk with us and provide us with the necessary information regarding Faisal’s health,” explained Mohammed.

Faisal’s treatment is not finished. He continues to see Dr. Talwalkar and Dr. Walker on a regular basis, and has begun seeing some additional pediatric orthopaedic surgeons at the Lexington Shriners Medical Center who specialize in upper extremities disorders. In the next 6-12 months Dr. Talwalkar may need to perform another surgery on Faisal’s hip. Also, Faisal will start wearing specially made custom gloves to help straighten his curved thumbs.

The medical staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center in Lexington are working hard to provide Faisal with as much mobility and independence as possible.

Faisal with both legs in castsFaisal using walkerFaisal standing on his own