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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. None of the following information should be used for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a doctor with any concerns.*
It was time to say goodbye to the casts!
As I buckled Little E into his carseat, I thought about how excited I was to not have to manipulate the buckle around his ginormous cast so it wouldn’t dig into his other leg.
When we got to the orthopedic office, we were ushered into a casting room. The tech explained how the saw worked…when it touches the soft batting, it automatically stops rotating, greatly diminishing any chances of nicking skin.
I was still pretty nervous.
I braced myself and Little E, holding his paci in his mouth and preparing for the screams.
To my surprise, he actually seemed to enjoy it! I think the loud white noise sound and the vibration of the saw were actually comforting to him.
The whole cast was off in 1 minute flat!
If I had to do it all over again, I would totally just have the tech saw off all the casts. It was so much easier and less stressful for everyone involved!
If you are going through the casting process and making the decision between the saw and manually removing casts, I would suggest trying the saw once and seeing how your little one reacts. If they hate it, then take the remaining casts off yourself. But you never know! Maybe they’ll be like Little E and like the saw a lot better than manual removal.
It was such a joy seeing his beautiful little foot no longer in any casts! And it was straight! <3
*I will warn you that your little one’s leg will be pretty smelly after four weeks in a cast. And if they had a tenotomy before it was applied, their foot might be a weird orange color. This is from the substance they use to sterilize the skin before the procedure.*
Just five minutes later we were out the door and on the way to get his boots and bar!
We ordered his boots and bar (known as “BnB” in the clubfoot community) through a medical equipment company. Due to our insurance denying coverage, we were paying out of pocket and had set up the appointment ourselves.
The office was very nice and the staff very pleasant. We met with the clinician who taught me how to put the boots and bar on.
Little E was getting a Ponseti bar and Mitchell boots. (For an explanation of the different varieties of boots and bar, read about it here.)
The clinician explained that the buckles always go on the inside of the foot. Bending his knee and his foot, we can fit his heel snugly into the back of the boot. There are two holes on either side that allow us to see and ensure that the heel is completely down and in the back of the boot.
The leather straps go over the top. He suggested putting them tight enough that you can just slip the tip of your pinky through.
The Ponseti bar then just clips onto the bottom of his boots. Some bars have shoes that just screw into the brace. The Ponseti bar is a lot more convenient (again, for a higher price) when it comes to diaper changes, baby wearing, and any other time you want to have his legs free from the bar.
After listening to the instructions and strapping him into his new boots and bar, we were on our way back home.
I was actually surprised at how well Little E was taking to his new brace. He did fuss when the clinician strapped his shoes on, but afterward, he was as happy as could be.
His bar doesn’t fit in his carseat, but the clinician said not to worry about that – to just take it off when he was in the car.
In fact, here’s an important point of clarification. The clinician informed me that Little E needed to wear his boots and bar 23/7, not 24/7. This means that he can have around an hour of “free time” a day. *Check with your little one’s doctor about how long they should be wearing their boots and bar for.*
If you are about to get BnB for your baby, here are a few things I learned from our experience:
Do your research and weigh the pros and cons.
As I mentioned above, there are several different options when it comes to the boots and bar. Each one has some pros and cons. For example, the Mitchell boots tend to be more comfortable for baby, but they are much more expensive.
Have open communication with your doctor.
When looking at the various kinds of boots and bar, include your doctor in your decision-making process. We were looking at the Dobbs moveable bar, but our doctor told us he felt more comfortable with the Ponseti bar. So we decided to go with that one. Again, weigh the pros and cons and make your own decision, but it’s always a good idea to discuss these things with your doctor.
Buy tall socks.
The boots can cause blisters and sores. One way to help prevent this is to buy tall socks.
Before you go out and get some socks though, you may want to also consider going one size up, if your little one is anything like ours.
While normal socks fit him in his correct size, his chubby little legs get chubbier the higher up the socks go. This means that the 0-6 month tall socks were really tight around his upper calves. He was much happier when we went up to the 6-12 month socks.
Get a cover for the bar.
Having a bar crash down on your thighs when your little one is sitting on your lap is not the nicest sensation!
To prevent some bruises, get a cover for your bar.
You can buy them in several places, including The Clubfoot Store (these ones already have foam on the inside). We got ours from BabyBumbleBeeShop on Etsy. We like this one because it is reversible and super soft (plus it was Christmas time and I wanted a Christmas-themed print…cheesy, I know.)
Even with the cover though, I was still getting some bruises through the cover, so we needed some extra protection.
For this, I got some foam tubular pipe insulation (We got the 3/4 inch size from Lowe’s). I cut it to size and cut the seam open (avoid the self-sealing kind…this will prevent you from removing the foam when you need to). Then I just slipped it over the bar and the cover fit around it just perfectly! Now, it doesn’t even hurt when Little E kicks his legs around on me.
I know that above I said Little E adjusted amazingly to his new boots and bar. That was true…until that evening. 🙁
He didn’t seem to notice it or really care that much throughout the morning and afternoon….maybe he was just so happy to have that huge cast off!
But he did end up getting very fussy for the next few days. You can read more about that, and how we helped him adjust to boots and bar, in Our Clubfoot Journey Part 5.
Going through your own clubfoot journey? Have you gotten your boots and bar yet? Or are you reading up before you make the transition? Leave a comment below!
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