In the next 6 weeks (to begin with), I’ll be documenting what I’ve learnt from our physiotherapy sessions with Theo. This is our first time seeing a physiotherapist who is trained in “3-dimensional foot therapy nach Zukunft-Huber” and specialises in children. When Theo was really little, we did ask his Orthopedists if physiotherapy would be part of his treatment but they didn’t think it was necessary till a week ago.
According to the therapist, Theo has weaker leg muscles than children without clubfoot which is normal. However, we’ll need to do physiotherapy to ensure that he develops and strengthens the muscles in his legs to help him walk better. Not that he needs to see a therapist for the rest of his life, but he should be doing various exercises for life to minimise discomfort brought about by clubfoot. I never knew this. I just thought he’ll be done and dusted after 4 years of boots and bar.
Now that I’m more aware of what to expect (including a potential second tenotomy when he’s older), I feel like I’m in a better position to help him.
We need to stretch the insides of his feet. He’ll sit in between my legs and I’ll have to use my elbow to gently press against his knee. One thumb will go under his big toe while the other presses on his heel. Both thumbs pull in opposite directions. We want to make sure that the insides are straight when stretching.
Next, with his leg forward, place one hand on his knee against the floor and flex his foot towards his body. This will help stretch the tendons and strengthen the calf muscles. Alternatively, walking up slopes is a good form of exercise. The therapist mentioned that she’ll introduce more “physical exercises” for when he’s a bit older and ready but it would be good for him if he likes climbing slopes already.
To get him to wriggle his toes in a fun way, she got him to pick up marbles with his toes. Alternatively, use a big bushy make-up brush to gentle brush his feet (ticklish). These little exercises are meant to strengthen his leg muscles.
These are the first 3 exercises that we have to do with Theo daily for this week as part of my “homework”. I’m really pleased with how the therapist interacted with Theo. She didn’t rush him. Instead, she introduced herself to him, played with him first before starting physiotherapy on him. I think that helped Theo warm up to her instantly.