2017 ArticlesGillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy Articles

Bilateral Clubfoot

By Krissy Myers, Mike Myers and Dr. Barry Gillespie

In 1978 as I was seeing how great this work was, I said to myself that I was going to go down this road and follow it wherever it took me. In 2006 I felt this work would be great for newborns/infants and with others I continued to follow the road wherever it took us. In 2017 it has taken us to the land of clubfoot.

I never really studied clubfoot in school, but I perceived it as an incurable condition. That is what my mind did back then when people said diseases were incurable; I believed them. Much to my surprise when about eight years ago one of my students did CFT on a clubfoot newborn, and his foot corrected after seven CFT visits. Years later with a healthy active child, the parents even forgot which foot was the clubfoot. I also received scattered reports that other clubfoot babies were recovering well with CFT.

So clubfoot became part of our “doable” baby disease group on the homepage. Yup, I stuck my neck out into the abyss of “you have to be kidding me”, but we just report what we see clinically with CFT.

bilateral clubfoot closeup
Pictured is the original hospital photo of the baby, suffering from bilateral clubfoot.

I define “doable” as a condition where we would expect a positive corrective result with CFT. Parents want to know what to expect with their infant’s condition(s) at the evaluation visit. We all understand that no health care provider can guarantee a result for anything, but we can feel confident that a child can expect to regain health for certain specific infant conditions. For example breastfeeding issues are “doable” with CFT, cancer is not.

Having been a science major in college, I am always trying to create a medical model as to why one of our conditions corrects with CFT. We know from histology that the fascial web connects every structural cell of the body, including every bone cell (osteocyte). If so, that craniosacral fascial strain pattern that we can easily picture in leg muscles/fascia will be traveling through the leg bones too.

I used to think of bones as solid cement-like structures from my experience doing bone surgery in the mouth. I used special bone drill bits because bone was a “hard” structure. I had special bone removal pliers to remove bone from around the teeth. If you are now getting queasy, start using your floss every day.

bilateral clubfoot bird's-eye view
Pictured is the most recent photo of the legs of the baby, who had bilateral clubfoot.

Newborn bones may be more malleable. So if the fetus is in a specific in utero position for an extended period of time that would lend itself to creating a bowed leg and twisted foot, we might say all of the body structures are part of a positional craniosacral fascial strain pattern that could possibly be corrected with CFT early in life.

I would never tell a parent what to do with their clubfoot child. If they wanted to do immediate casting and surgery with their baby, that is their right as parents. I try very hard not to make a judgement of right/wrong, good/bad.

But I feel it is appropriate to present our world to the parents as an option. In my surgical training, I learned to do the most conservative periodontal procedures first. If they all failed, surgery became the last resort.

I view CFT as a very conservative procedure; I really see no downside to try it everyday for a clubfoot baby. If it is not helping, you will know pretty quickly and surgery can always be done. In my mind the parents need to know all the options, so they can make their own choice.

The following is a case report of a bilateral clubfoot baby with before and after photos. We are grateful for the parents allowing us to use these photos for educational purposes. This baby was also part of our hospital NICU Lancaster training in April, 2017. Mom brought the baby in every day for five days as the NICU students practiced CFT on her. Krissy and Mike Myers are continuing to intensively work on this baby since then.

Krissy Myers, the director and lead teacher of the hospital teaching team, relates the following story and photos about Baby H:

Mom took four years to become pregnant. Mike and I did one year of intensive CFT to help with the fertility issue prior to getting pregnant.

During the pregnancy, mom developed oligohydramnios, abnormally​ low levels of amniotic fluid, at around 25 weeks. Thereafter, doctors closely monitored her fluid levels as well as the health of her placenta. Miraculously, she carried her baby until the scheduled induction date at 39 weeks. Baby H was born within a few hours of induction, and doctors diagnosed her with bilateral clubfoot.

The family called us three days after birth to request a CFT treatment ASAP. Baby H was not nursing and was scheduled for a tongue tie revision at the end of that week.

Baby H presented that day with zero brain and sacral cycles and a head shape of 0….three giant red flags in our world. There had been no issue with the umbilical cord…..giving her a Baby Brain Score (BBS) of 2. Her head was severely distorted and her mandible was pulled to the left side.

Not only was there bilateral clubfoot, but her legs were pulled up and tucked into her groin in an Indian style position. Clearly, the issue with the low amniotic fluid had caused these distortions during her development over the 14 weeks.

After the first treatment, Baby H began nursing for the first time, and her body became more relaxed. She was incredibly tight everywhere, and her legs and pelvis unwound so fast that we could hardly keep up with the unwinding.

Baby H received the oral revision for the TT later that week, which temporarily improved the nursing issue. The timing of Baby H’s arrival was interesting in that the mother had pre-scheduled her baby for daily treatments during our NICU Infant seminar. After Baby H’s birth, we encouraged the family to commit to intensives that week for two treatments a day.

As Barry related above, the NICU medical team along with the GA hospital teachers worked with Baby H intensively for five days. The strain would move from her hips, down to her knees, and end at her ankles. After that week, her legs went from the tight crossed position to hanging fairly straight.

After the completion of the NICU seminar, the family took advantage of our two infant seminars with more students practicing CFT and received a few more days of intensive treatments from myself and Mike.

In the meantime, the family had scheduled an appointment at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia for an evaluation. Upon arrival and evaluation, the medical team felt that the left foot was not clubfoot. Also, they commented that they never have seen a baby as muscularly loose as Baby H.

So they began conventional protocol with casts applied to Baby H’s legs and feet. During this four week period, we continued to provide weekly CFT treatments.

But over these four weeks, Baby H became increasingly unhappy. She was not breastfeeding well, became constipated, and was tighter than ever. Apparently the weight of the leg casts caused her already compromised craniosacral fascial system to become more restricted.

At the fourth week of the cast change, the doctor’s at Shriners told the family that Baby H was now ready for surgery. The procedure was to cut the tendons to allow her feet to flex and extend. The doctors commented on how quickly Baby H responded to the cast procedure and noted again how rare it was to see the flexibility that Baby H had in her legs and feet.

The family was disappointed to hear about the surgery for their baby and decided to hold off on that procedure. They wanted to try less invasive procedures first and decided to return to us for intensive CFT treatments.

After we worked through the effects of the cast restrictions, we accessed deeper in utero restrictions of her onion. Now the lower body tightness cannot be initiated by any lower body techniques. She has a severe twist accessed from her occiput and right TMJ that causes a twist through her trunk and ends in the medial aspect of her legs.

This again demonstrates the oneness of the craniosacral fascial system. While her mandible is in a more symmetrical position, clearly more work needs to be done to help Baby H release the connection between her mandible, pelvis, and leg structures.

We will post updates about Baby H as we continue intensive treatment.

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Dr. Barry Gillespie

Dr. Barry Gillespie founded Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, which provides patients with a freely moving brain, spinal cord and fascial web, all critical to optimal health. Dr. Barry Gillespie also created the Baby Brain Score and discovered effective therapeutic techniques for newborns and infants. Read more about Dr. Barry Gillespie.

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