Over half of all amputations in the United States each year are caused by diabetes mellitus and most of these amputations are of the lower extremity. Trauma, infection and severe deformity of the foot and ankle can all be reasons that an amputation may be needed to allow an individual to continue to have a healthy life with the best possible function of their lower extremity. However, in 11 year old Gabriel Muniz’s case of living without either of his feet, they were not amputated. Muniz was born without feet and has been making news recently for the soccer skills he possesses without the aid of a prosthetic limb.
Muniz’s condition is likely the limb deficiency known as “apodia” in which the distal portion of his lower extremities, the feet, simply did not develop. The causes of this lack of development are not well known but can include genetic factors, nutrient deficiencies, deviations from the normal distribution of sensory nerves in bone and external factors, such as viruses.
Apodia is certainly not the only foot deformity that children may be born with. Another condition called “talipes equinovarus” or more commonly “clubfoot” affects one in 1,000 live births in the United States. Newborn feet with clubfoot appear rotated so the bottom of the affected foot faces towards the other foot, instead of towards the ground. Luckily, like to Gabriel Muniz, children born with clubfoot typically can recover to have an active and healthy foot. As with most conditions of children’s feet, the earlier treatment begins of clubfoot, the better the chances are for a complete recovery. The treatment for clubfoot involves casting the baby’s foot repeatedly over the course of weeks to progressively correct the deformity. Foot surgery may still be required for complete correction after casting. However, casting typically reduces the amount of deformity enough so that the surgery is minor compared to what would be needed if casting were not performed early on.
Gabriel Muniz should be an inspiration to any individual born with foot deformity or struggling after a lower extremity amputation that a happy and healthy lifestyle is possible!
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.