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Megan was at her 20-week anatomy scan, when her OB/GYN discovered that her baby, Damilola, had clubfoot on her right foot.

Clubfoot is a common type of birth defect that affects muscles and bones in the feet. Instead of being straight, a clubfoot points down and turns in. This twisting causes the toes to point toward the opposite leg. A baby can be born with the defect in one or both feet. There may be a genetic component to the condition, but it can also be a result of a baby’s position in the womb.

A few weeks after her scan, Megan and her husband, Ife, had an appointment with Melissa Martinek, DO, PhD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Dr. Martinek talked through treatment options for their baby following birth and what they could expect.

“I really enjoy meeting with parents prenatally,” said Dr. Martinek. “They come to their appointment with a lot of questions because they’ve looked online or have had other experiences. I like to help calm their fears and talk them through their child’s diagnosis.”

Damilola’s treatment for her clubfoot began just two weeks following birth. Her right foot was put into a cast to gently move it into the correct positioning. She went through seven casts, which were kept on approximately one week at time, by the time she was 2 and a half months old. Following casting, Lola began use “boots and bar,” which act as brace to help keep the foot in position.

To help keep her foot up, Dr. Martinek recently performed a heel cord release on Damilola. The procedure releases the tension on the heel, allowing the ankle to flex up and improves flexibility.

Following her procedure, Damilola will continue with the boots and bar for approximately 12 hours a day, mostly while asleep, until she’s three-years-old.

“I am privileged to get to participate in the care of children,” said Dr. Martinek. “Clubfeet and limb deformity patients are a particular interest of mine, and I enjoy being able to see those patients through the different stages of life from infants to young adults and watch them achieve their goals.”

the unique role helping spine patients at Dayton Children's

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