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Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Tuesday, September 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 4:46 PM - Tuesday, September 18, 2018 4:46 PM

Care for club feet helps patient walk

In January 2009, Mass, a woman from Afghanistan, gave birth to a little girl she named Zahra. When the child became mobile, she crawled and scooted but never showed any signs of walking. Mass grew concerned and began seeking medical advice.

Diagnosis and early care

Mass took Zahra to see a local specialist. The physician diagnosed Zahra with bilateral clubfoot, a common congenital deformity. The recommended treatment for Zahra was a percutaneous Achilles tendon-lengthening procedure followed by casting of both feet. The procedure stretched her Achilles tendon, and Zahra gained movement in her ankle joints. At that point, she should have been able to start walking. However, Zahra showed only minor improvements and still could not walk.

Moving care forward

Mass was frustrated and worried about Zahra’s lack of progress. She decided to contact a family member who lives in California and had previously mentioned the possibility of care at Shriners Hospitals for Children. After some planning, Mass and Zahra traveled to Pasadena to see Selina Poon, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena. Dr. Poon’s medical evaluation confirmed the diagnosis of bilateral clubfoot, and also a left hand deformity. She discussed care options with Mass and Zahra, and included additional surgeries as an option. Dr. Poon also said there was a chance that Zahra could walk after treatment. This gave Mass hope, and confirmed that she had made the right decision to bring Zahra to Shriners for Children Medical Center.

After the consultation with Dr. Poon, they met Jack Mark, CPO, a certified prosthetist in the Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) – West, LLC, department at the medical center. Mark explained that Zahra would be casted for knee and foot orthoses (KFOs) after surgery.

On her feet

Once Zahra fully recovered from surgery, the POPS team finalized the fit of her KFOs. With help from physical therapy, Zahra could walk independently with her orthoses. She was also able to go short distances without the support of her KFOs, using only her walker. The care Zahra received at Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena helped her walk, a life-changing achievement for both her and her family. She, and all our patients, inspire us to continue our mission to improve the quality of life for children and families by providing the best medical care possible.