Casting Corrections, Ongoing Therapy and Parental Support Help Finland Realize His Sports Potential
Many families have boxes in their homes. Boxes of different sizes, each filled with different things: old holiday decorations, knickknacks, whatnots. Boxes often located in attics or basements. Boxes often left neglected or forgotten.
The Iles family owns their fair share of boxes, as well. But for parents, Michael and Shane, one box is more important than all the others because it contains part of their family’s history.
The contents? Lots and lots of used casts. Foot casts, specifically, dating back 10 years. Each one documenting the growth and gradual improvement over the years of their son, Finland.
“We’ve saved them in a box downstairs since he was seven days old,” said his mom, Michael. “We have all kinds of casts.”
Finland, who was born with a significant congenital clubfoot abnormality of both feet, has been a patient at Cincinnati Children's since birth. He’s had the same primary doctor his entire life, orthopaedic surgery specialist Charles Mehlman, DO, MPH.
Family Commitment Proves Crucial to Finland’s Success
Fortunately, Finland never needed foot surgery. Instead, Dr. Mehlman and the orthopaedic team followed the Ponseti method, a non-surgical approach to correct clubfoot. The Ponseti method involves a specific series of cast corrections and braces to gradually improve foot function.
According to Dr. Mehlman, successful treatment for clubfoot depends on several key factors, including a family’s dedicated commitment to treatment and returning to the hospital for continual re-casting. He notes, “Finland has benefited greatly from an awesome mom and dad.”