Re: Rhizotomy Or Tendon Lengthening For 5 Year old?
Over the years, we too had difficulty establishing a heal strike walking gait and tried various methods of intervention. Firstly from aged 3 or 4 we went through the process of AFO'S or ankle foot orthopedics which helped with the stretching of the calf muscles. These can be made with an open heal which helps the child identify the heal strike sensation. We also had a period of serial plastering which was pretty horrible as we live in a hot climate and once the plasters were in place it was very hot and unpleasant for my daughter. There was some considerable success from these intervention methods; best was the AFO'S because they were removable and easy to wash etc being made from hard plastics. She wore these at school with oversized shoes which seemed to be very successful. As my daughter grew we also had a fairly intensive exercise and physio regime which is hard on the parents and the child. Eventually as a teenager: at 14 or 15, we had various surgical procedures carried out including tendon lengthening of the rectus femoris muscles, hamstrings and inner adductors which straightened out her gait and improved things noticeably. We also had derotational osteotomies done on both femors due to torsional twisting during growth with tight tendons etc. This sounds; and was a major decision for us as parents and my daughter as the recipient. The results today are nothing short of miraculous. My daughter walks with a straight gait and for all intensive purposes is the same as everone else. She does tire easily and does have an arched back, as tone does tend to shunt to another area as each correction is done. I would not change any of our decisions if I had to do it all again, but each individual is different and CP is different in each case. We consulted many doctors and sort second and third opinions before making our choices. I hope this story helps you in some way. I do think tendon lengthening is definitely a step in the right direction and today's specialist doctors are well informed and networked. Wishing you well. Neil