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Mother of son with clubfoot shares story in honor of awareness month
Caden sporting clubfeet casts with drawn-on flip-flops and Bermuda shorts. - photo by Jen Jacobson
When Haili Randall opened her arms to her first child, she also had to welcome in a whole lot of medical challenges.

Caden was born with bilateral clubfeet, meaning both his feet had grown deformed and tangled up, inside his mothers stomach.

It was kind of shocking, said Randall. You expect your first birth to be sunshine and roses. It wasnt we go home and enjoy our baby. It was we go home and make doctors appointments.

Clubfoot is a congenital abnormality causing a babys feet to be twisted and turned inward and upward because the tissues connecting the muscles to the bone tendons are shorter than usual.

Despite her sons challenges, Randall stayed optimistic, noting although she did not initially know anyone who had clubfoot, she always believed her son could still reach his fullest potential.

Kristie Armaguicci also had clubfoot, said Randall. Look at what shes done. The only limitation is the one that the parents perceive, but its just not true.

Professional soccer player, Mia Hamm and football star Troy Aikman were also born with clubfoot.

However, because Caden was also born with arthrogryposis, some doctors told Randall her son would most likely not walk.

They said that if he did walk, it wouldnt be without assistance, such as a walker (or) arm crutches, said Randall.

Children with arthrogryposis dont have as much flexibility in their joints. Some joints may even be stuck in one position.

Often the muscles around these joints are thin, weak, stiff or missing. Extra tissue may have formed around the joints, holding them in place.

Quite literally, Caden is a walking miracle, based upon some doctors expectations.

At 6 years old, Caden is signed up to play soccer this fall.

I love soccer, said Caden.

Caden has pictures of soccer balls all over a pair of his walking casts.

Every picture I have hes got a smile on his face, said Randall. He just exudes joy. People are just drawn to him.

Randall says her sons life was changed forever, thanks the late Dr. Ignacio Ponseti.

Back in the 1930s Ponseti developed a method that would correct clubfoot through casts.

The month of June is set to raise awareness about clubfoot in honor Ponsetis birthday.

He was treating patients (with clubfoot) up until he was 93 years old, said Randall.

Thanks to Ponseti, by the time a child is 4 or 5 years old, the clubfoot can be fully corrected with the correct treatment.

Still, Randall says there are other issues that stem from clubfoot.

A lot of insurance companies dont recognize (clubfoot) as something that if its not corrected that child wont walk, said Randall.

In underdeveloped countries, babies born with clubfoot wind up walking on the outsides of their feet if they walk at all because their feet were never corrected in the first place.

It saddens me because its so easily fixable, said Randall. Its something that shouldnt be life-altering.

Randall has sent old pairs of shoes and braces that do not fit her son anymore to underdeveloped countries so that she can help others.

As of today, medical research leaves doctors to believe clubfoot is not preventable. In the past, there have been studies linking the possibility back to a pregnant woman taking a medication called Zofran, which helps to relieve nausea. However, medical professionals havent had enough evidence to confirm those findings.

I took Zofran when I was pregnant with my second child, but she doesnt have clubfoot, said Randall.

Although having a child with clubfoot is a scary process, Randall says she encourages mothers who have children with clubfoot to join support groups.

Ive learned not to take little things for granted," she said. "I didnt know how upset Id be to cut out the feet of sleeper jammies (but) its not the end of the world.

Randall says she actually misses the days she strapped boots onto her baby son.

That was our bonding moment, said Randall. Thats changed now. Its weird how you think youll never miss (it) and you do.
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