Jennifer and Mark Lovers were facing a momentous decision.
Their son Benjamin had been born with club foot, a condition in which the leg muscles and tendons cause the feet to twist inward and upward, preventing the sole of the foot from resting fully on the ground. If not corrected, it would prevent Benjamin from ever walking freely or well.
Following a failed initial casting treatment at another institution, their orthopaedist told them that their son needed surgery that would cut through the ankle joint – the only way, he said, to correct Benjamin’s condition. For the family, a decision needed to be made to stay with their doctor or to seek treatment elsewhere.
The Lovers dreamed of their son walking and running like other children.
But they also dreamed of achieving this goal with as little pain and discomfort for Benjamin as possible.
They found the solution at the LAOH Club Foot Clinic. A warm patient-centric atmosphere, and Clinic Director Dr. Lewis E. Zionts’ willingness to try less-invasive methods, were “just what we’d hoped to find.”
It was also important to the family that their doctor be accessible, and Dr. Zionts “took the time to explain.” To provide even more reassurance, he gave Jennifer and Mark his personal cell phone number at their first visit. Respectful of this privilege, the couple thought they would never use it.
But an emergency arose, and “Dr. Zionts came in on his day off” to help them.
Benjamin is now an active 11-month-old, and his treatment at LAOH is progressing exactly as his family had hoped. At his most recent visit, with a gentle assist from mom, he stood with both feet planted firmly and fully on the floor.
Dr. Zionts smiled and said, “Ben’s ready to start walking. Come back in a couple of months to show me what you can do.”
Where Ben Is Now
Now just over a year old and needing to wear his brace only during "nights and naptime," Ben is using his new freedom to explore his world, step by step. "We're excited," say his parents, Jennifer and Mark, "that Ben can now, so quickly, move on to having a normal childhood with all the joys and adventures that brings."
Jennifer and Mark tell us that a friend of Mark's was treated for clubfoot as a child, and "grew up to be a fine young athlete - the fastest runner on his team - with no memory of ever having had any physical limitations." They believe that this will describe their son's future too.
We at LAOH are excited for Ben and his family, pleased that we could help them achieve their dreams of good health, and that you - our LAOH family - have been able to follow along and share in the excitement of Ben's successful first steps.
"Clubfoot is a highly treatable condition," says Ben's physician, Dr. Zionts. "It has been our experience at LAOH that a good result can be achieved when treatment is begun within 12 weeks of age. If a family seeks care at our clinic within several weeks of birth, there is every chance of correcting this condition fully and with a minimum of discomfort and disruption for both child and parents, preserving the special time in a growing family's early months and years."
Dr. Zionts notes that parents' cooperation with the brace protocol is absolutely crucial to assure a successful outcome of the Ponseti method, and that "it has been a pleasure working with Ben's highly motivated family. I look forward to his next visit and watching as his exciting progress continues."
At Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to run and play, and we ask for your support.
Help us give a child the chance at a life without limitations.