Perspective & Vertical Talus

Perspective. If I had to sum up my journey with TinySuperheroes in a few words, perspective would be at the top of the list.

On February 24, 2017 we welcomed our third son into our family, Super Sheldon. It’s crazy how instantaneously it seemed impossible to imagine life without him and terrifying to imagine life with 3 boys! (Just being real here…three feels a little overwhelming…)

When Super Sheldon was born, his feet looked funky. It was clear that his feet had been stuck in a strange position while he was on the inside (I’m pretty sure right under my ribs) but less clear if something more substantial was wrong.

At 2 weeks old, an X-Ray revealed that Sheldon has bilateral congenital vertical talus. I’d definitely never heard of it and am still not positive how to pronounce it. As I understand it, it is a deformity of the foot that causes the talus bone (the bone that connects the lower leg to the foot) to point the wrong direction (it typically points towards the toe, and in these cases points vertically toward the ground).

Vertical Talus is completely fixable and his early diagnosis will only help. It will involve a bit of chaos (as I feel it) in the coming months including many sets of full leg casts, 2 surgeries and a set of awesome boots that are connected by a bar. (Treatment is similar to club foot.)

While I certainly have feelings of angst, hesitation and fear, those feelings are no doubt trumped by the feeling of gratitude – something that the TinySuperheroes community alone has taught me.

Before TinySuperheroes, months of casts and surgery on my sweet new baby would have felt paralyzing. I would have wondered what we did wrong…worried about what this could mean for his future…fear the stigma of having a child born with deformed feet would carry…

But with TinySuperheroes, I see how blessed we are by this diagnosis.

Blessed because it is something they can correct.

Blessed because it shouldn’t affect his gross motor development.

Blessed because they caught it early.

Blessed because the doctor who developed the treatment for Vertical Talus, is in our city!

Blessed because we have health insurance that will cover this.

Blessed that we have family around to support us.

Blessed because we have Sheldon, who is just perfect.

Blessed because TinySuperheroes has taught us that differences are super powers!

Because of TinySuperheroes, I don’t want to hide his casts. I want to strap on his cape and let Sheldon be an ambassador for our TinySuperheroes who overcome things like this and SO MUCH MORE. I want to use this opportunity to bring awareness and encourage kindness.

So tomorrow we go to St. Louis Children’s Hospital to see Dr. Matthew Dobbs and Sheldon will get his first set of casts. Tonight, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for teaching me how to see the joy in all things, at all times. You’ve truly changed me and I’m forever grateful.

We’ll keep you posted, but Super Sheldon is ready!

PS – If any of our TinySuperheroes have had full leg casts…how do you prevent the inevitable disaster of a terrible diaper!??!??!?!?! (Seriously…I need to know!)


16 replies
  1. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Love, love, love! Praying for sweet baby Super Sheldon that all goes well, according to plan, and for you and your family for wisdom and strength. Thanks for your encouraging words and your incredibly positive outlook!

  2. Jennifer O'Daniel
    Jennifer O'Daniel says:

    Cover the edges of the cast with waterproof tape. Also maxi pads placed over the edges in the diaper area. That way if there is a diaper explosion the tape and pads will catch the mess. I used to work in a children’s hospital:)

  3. Laura
    Laura says:

    Well, Super Enzo was born with clubfeet and started casting at day 10 of his life. He only needed a cast and surgery on one side, the other side was treated with physiotherapy. We only had a diaper incident on the first day of his first cast. We removed it (he had this cast that we could remove at home, something like a really sturdy tape) bathed him and went back for a new cast the next day. Just do not use washable diapers; that was our mistake I guess. And, get used to the noise! Tapping the floor is so much more fun with a cast or a brace!

  4. Bamboo Crook
    Bamboo Crook says:

    My daughter was born with congenital hip dysplasia. It has a long complicated name but I can’t pronounce or spelling so I call it what I understand it to be. She had surgery as an infant and wore a spica cast for four months and then slept in a splint until she was 4. Today she is almost 17 and you’d never know that she has a congenital birth defect. If I could add a picture of her here I would! Prayers for complete restoration of your tiny super hero!

  5. Angele
    Angele says:

    Get long socks like old school tube socks Amazon has them… works great! My son is your son’s birthday twin!! And has Bilateral clubfoot

  6. Priyanka
    Priyanka says:

    Hope everything went well. How’s little Sheldon doing now? Please do post the updates. My 16 month daughter has been diagnosed with vertical talus today. She was born in Chicago but nobody diagnosed it then. Even to me her feet looked normal. She hadn’t started walking and we were concerned that’s when we went in to the doctor. She did tilt her left foot slightly when we tried her to walk but while sitting or layiodown her feet looks normal. Anyway we got her X-ray done and it confirmed vertical talus. We are going to see a pediatrics foot surgeon soon . We moved from Chicago to Sydney 5 months backs and I wish I could go back just to get my girl treated by doctor dobbs. I had never heard of it before and just trying to sink everything. I just want to know from you all once this is corrected my baby will be able to walk? Does this stop her from activities like cycling, running or dancing?
    Please do let me know

  7. Michelle LeBlanc
    Michelle LeBlanc says:

    Robyn it was such a pleasure to meet you and your family at Happy feet! Super Sheldon is so handsome!! Thank you so much for Patrick’s cape. You are doing amazing things for children! Prior to starting treatment
    with Dr Dobbs I had no support system for 5 years in the VT battle now we have an extended family like you all! Thank you for all you do for many super heros!! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Christine Plude
      Christine Plude says:

      we feel exactly the same about you! I only wish you lived closer…I think Rory and Patrick would be good kindergarten buddies! Keep in touch!

  8. Maude
    Maude says:

    Hi Robyn, thank for your positive words, it’s really good to read them. I am really sad because i learn today that my 8 months baby have vertical thalus… its hard to take. But like you say: perspective!
    How’ s super Sheldon doing now? Can he walk normally?
    Thanks you so much for your story!

  9. Janaki
    Janaki says:

    Hi Robyn, My little girl was born 5 days ago and doctors diagnosed her with vertical talus. I couldn’t find good resources to find suitable doctor/help. Your words brought some hope. How is Super Sheldon doing now? Can he walk normally now? Can you please share details of procedure and doctor who has done it?


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