From Neglected Clubfoot to Football Player: Joseph’s Story

September 04, 2018

Children with neglected clubfoot are often hidden away, unable to participate in social activities in their community, attend school, or move around freely without pain or stigma.

This could have been Joseph’s story, but thankfully, his neglected bilateral clubfoot was treated by MiracleFeet’s partners at Bunda hospital in Tanzania.

Joseph before treatment, seated in a chair at the clinic, his feet exhibiting symptoms of clubfoot

At the age of 4 and a half years, Joseph’s mother brought him to treatment. Unlike many other children born with clubfoot, Joseph’s family knew that his condition was treatable. In fact, his mother had been born with unilateral clubfoot and was successfully treated as a child. She had been unable to bring Joseph to a clinic for treatment, however, because Joseph’s father had been seriously ill for nearly three years and all resources had gone to his recovery.

Joseph during treatment, in between castingFortunately, Joseph’s father recovered from his illness and was able to return home and resume working as a fisherman to support the family. It was then that Joseph’s mother began looking for treatment for her child. Initially, Joseph was enrolled in treatment at a hospital far from his home in the Simiyu Region of Tanzania before being transferred to the Bunda Clinic, about 50km from his home. Despite the financial strain of traveling to the clinic each week, Joseph’s family brought him faithfully and began to see the transformation in their son’s feet.

After 8 casts and a tenotomy, Joseph is now in the bracing phase of treatment and excited about the future. His parents are incredibly grateful to the entire treatment team and proud to see their son walking. Joseph is now enrolled in nursery school and with his newfound ability to walk to school without the pain and stigma of untreated clubfoot, the possibilities for his future seem limitless.

Right now, though, young Joseph is content to play football with his friends.

Read more stories from Tanzania.