It’s been a while - Ethan’s update

Back in December of 2014, he had yet another surgery.  This time to staple the growth plates in both big toes because the outside part of the growth plate was growing faster than the inside.  They stapled the outside part to the lower bone to stop that growth and allow the inside part to catch up. His big toes were growing under all of his other toes.  September 2015, we are still waiting for any results.  I can’t see any improvements.  I will take him back for that checkup soon.  As far as his tendons, they are still very very tight with limited mobility. He continues to have no ROM from side to side and limited upward.  He is still playing travel baseball and football.  Keeping his strength in his legs and flexible has made all the difference in the world.

2nd opinion - not what I thought. new course of action

The Doctor took x rays of Ethan’s lower section.  He suspects (from the x ray) that he has Talocalcaneal Coalition.  Where Talic bone and the Calcaneal bone are one bone insead of 2 bones. Thus 0 ROM from side to side.  We are now secheduled for an CT scan.

Day 1 of D-1 training and therapy

My son is 8 years old. I believe there is a difference in a person that plays sports and an athlete. Ethan proved yesterday that he wants to become an athlete. It’s one of the proudest moment (other than scholastically <– always #1) that I have been of him. THIS IS MY OPINION ONLY! A person that plays sports, learns the technical skills of the game, how to compete, win, be a team player, ect… An athlete takes that to the next level. They don’t just work on the game, an athlete realizes that to become a great player, you must first put your mind, body, and soul first. It’s NOT all about the game; it’s about how well you can handle playing game at your peak mental and physical ability. I believe that the transformation from a player to an athlete begins with the mind. Ethan’s mind transformation began happening a few weeks ago.

His mind = determination, drive, and focus

His second of the three started yesterday with the D-1 training and therapy this morning.

His body = strengthening, conditioning, flexibility, stamina

His third transformation. The most important.

His soul = for love of the game, dream, believe, confidence, passion, greatness, accomplishment. As my favorite quote says, “The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.” His soul has been lit on fire and right now, he’s unstoppable. This trait alone is going to push him to achieve his dream no matter what obstacle he has to overcome.

If you know anything about Ethan, you know that he is the most laid back child ever. He does not get overly upset at anything and thus, does not get overly excited about anything. The excitement that he was feeling yesterday at D-1 was priceless. Believe me, they worked him. They started by teaching him how to correctly use his hands and arms to run then they went on to doing strength training. He had a smile on his face the whole time even when he was passed out from exhaustion, he was still smiling. He was beaming. He loves being in that environment, being pushed for greatness. And how I know about his excitement other than while he was there?? This usually quiet child talked my head off all the way home.

Therapy day 1: More strength training focused on his calf muscles and a little on the thigh. He was able to do 44 side jumps in 30 seconds. We will stretch at home. He was a little weak today in therapy.

Day 2 of therapy is tomorrow and with any luck, we can go back to D-1.

Physical Therapy consultation -

Ethan is in therapy

Right: He measured 2 degrees below neutral and with help 4 degrees above neutral. No strength in his muscles. He was able to achieve 20 reps of heel raises but struggled.

Left: He measured neurtal and with help 6 degrees above neutral. No strength in his muscles. He was able to do 14 reps of heel raises.

In therapy, we are going to focus on stretching and a lot of strength training. The therapist said that Ethan (at this point) would benefit more from strength of the muscles with the stretching. He should be a faster runner (what he is hoping). She said that stretching and strengthing will be a lifelong struggle. She and the PA agree that Ethan is a very tight kid with hamstrings, tendons, legaments. We are working on at home to stretch out his big toe. It has a tendon that stretches from the front of his foot up to his calf muscle. We will be doing that stretch, tendon stretching, and heel raises, twice a day at home.

The therapist asked if after Ethan’s surgery, if the doctor changed out the casts every week to help stretch the tendons (and he did not). She agreed for the second opinion but suggested that I take Ethan somewhere like Atlanta.

Second Opinion & Cause for tightness 10 months after surgery

Ethan’s second opinion is set for June 18th to see if we are doing everything we possibly can for him. I have learned that his tightness may be caused by them not setting his ankles high enough after the surgery and when the tendons healed, they healed short.. Has anyone experienced this?

Went for checkup 10 months after initial surgery

Saw the PA today for Ethan’s update/checkup.  I had a bad feeling going into this appointment that it wasn’t going to be good.  Ethan has regressed since his last visit a few months ago.  He has lost about 1/2 of his flexibility on his left ankle and the PA could barely get him to neutral on his right.  They have ordered yet 8 more weeks of therapy twice a week, keep wearing his shoe inserts, and now to wear night splints.  We go back in 8 weeks.  The PA suggested that Ethan’s bones are growing faster than his muscles, ligaments, tendons

Ethan’s progress

This post is of my opinion and not confirmed by the Doctor (we see him in May). If we could cut Ethan in half, the left achilles tendon goes well past neutral and I fear that it has too much flexibility (or maybe that is the normal ROM), it grosses me out to flex  Even though I do have my fear, I will not concern myself too much about it right now. I have stopped stretching the left tendon so if it is loose, I will not make it worse.

 The right tendon is still as tight as it was before the surgery.  We do the stretches, he wears his inserts to keep his ankles in the neutral position, and he works it playing baseball.  His arch has constant redness and blisters and the PA said that was due to the pressure to the arch trying to collapse…geesh.  The right foot continues to turns out when he walks and he may always have that walk..who knows.   The PT tech measured that one leg was just slightly longer than the other and that could be the cause.   What is the next step if the surgery didn’t work for his right tendon?  We will find out in May.

Final word from the PA…not hardly :(

Well, we went to the doctor to get the final verdict on whether the therapy worked.  If one leg could be released, the left one would be.   That stubborn right tendon is still tight.  The PA ordered 6 months of at home stretching at night and for Ethan to wear the shoe inserts for 6 more months also.  Bummer because those things for him are uncomfortable.  Just as I said in the previous post, the bone above the right arch is being irritated from the splints (it’s rubbing a red spot there).  The PA said that because his tendon was still tight, his arch was trying to collapse again.  Hence, the pressure on that bone.  We will reevaluate in May and either be released, or see what our next option will be.  The grand news is that he is released to exert both legs just as hard as he can exert them and he does NOT need to wear his inserts/splints when he is wearing his cleats.  Baseball, here we come!!

End of Therapy - mixed feelings

We have completed the 8 weeks of therapy and the results are in.  Please forgive my termology as I am not familiar with these “big” words.  His dorsiflexion went from +4 to +10 on his left and from a -6 to a +10 on his right.  His plantar flexion oh both feet are about 70 degrees.  The foot inversion on the right was at 18 in the beginning and now is 35 and on the left in the beginning was 28 and now it’s 30.

They put Ethan on the treadmill to watch him walk and run.  His walking is better with a slight outward turn of his right foot.   Running is not so good.  He seems to be turning his left knee inward and leaning into his foot (putting extra pressure on his arch area) while the right foot is turning outward, whipping his right leg around, almost colliding with his left leg. They gave us a lot of strength exercises for his butt, hip, and thigh area.  Hopefully as that area gets stronger, it will shift his foot back around.

We go to the doctor on 11/28 for our official results…in the meantime, I think I’m going to jump on board with these exercises too and get some upper leg action..hehe

Therapy Session #2 - the good, bad, and ugly

Good news is that Ethan’s left ankle has passed neutral and is finally flexing toward the goal :)  Great news that I can actually see the surgery paying off.  We are now teaching him how to use his new found flexibility.

Bad news is that Ethan’s right ankle is still tight but is at neutral.  It needs more help than the left and it is still turning out.

Ugly news is that upon looking at Ethan’s right leg compaired to his left leg. The right leg is just about 2cm longer than his left.  It appears that he does have the same calf muscle mass in both, but the right calf muscle is bowing outward (creats a curve) and the left muscle is growing straight.  What concerns the PT more is that he can’t straighten his leg out.  If he is sitting on the floor, he can’t touch the floor with the back of him knee.  This could be the cause of his foot turning outward and the PT said that we could see a “whipping” around motion when he runs.  I will have the doctor take a look at our next appointment.