Our daughter Vivienne was born with bilateral clubfoot.
Her feet were successfully casted, using the Ponseti Method, while she was still in China.
But she has a condition that is a relatively common sequela of clubfoot, known as foot drop.
She is missing the muscles on the top of her foot that help her to lift her toes. So she has to work really hard to lift her foot and swing her toes through as she walks.
For now, there is no correction for this condition. And, without intervention, she would probably continue to develop her own method of walking.
But we really don't want that. We want to help her, now while she is still young, to learn how to walk properly, and to walk without having to work her hips and knees and ankles so hard with every step.
So the best option for Vivi are AFOs. Or ankle-foot orthoses.
These are custom made, so a trip to the orthotist for a set of Vivi-sized molds was required.
Once they are finished, these AFOs will help lift her toes as she goes to walk and should help her to walk more easily, with less stumbling.
So that's great.
But she has to wear them, in theory, forever. And anyone whose ever spent a hot afternoon in uber-hot tube socks can imagine the misery of having to wear plastic boots year round.
So that's bad.
But, as we've done with all our children's special needs, we will take this new adventure one step at a time.
Whatever medical needs she has, we're ready.
After all, she is the bravest of us all.