Hear me out so we can walk away!
June 19, 2014 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Our son is about to be 17 months and he can't stand or walk unassisted. I know, I know, kids do things on their own schedule. I think there may be a bigger problem than sheer will at work here. I believe his left foot is pronated and preventing him from being able to balance properly.

When we went for his 15 month appointment our pediatrician said if he wasn't walking in a month to call her and she would refer us to Early Intervention, but she thought for sure he would be walking and it would never come to that. He wasn't so I called. We were referred to Early Intervention, had our eligibility intake screening and he qualifies for the full assessment.
However, they are backed up and it may be almost a month before he will get fully checked out.

I called our pediatrician back to get some advice, and tell her what I've noticed, but she just says that his bones aren't fully 'unscrunched' from being in the womb, he'll outgrow it.

Mother's instinct tells me this is not the case. I worry the longer we wait, the more damage he could do. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just an over concerned mom. Should I push back and insist he see a specialist asap or wait another month?

Here is video of him walking and a pic of his left foot from behind. He can walk with push toys and stand holding on to things but that's it. He tries to stand unassisted all the time but just falls down. Anyone have any experience with this?
posted by MayNicholas to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where do you live?

If in the US, call Early Intervention. Schedule an evaluation with them.

If he needs help, they will help you get it. Don't ignore that instinct that's telling you there is more going on. You lose nothing by calling EI, except maybe time, because if nothing is wrong, then you know. And if something is wrong, you can get help.

You win no matter what.

Google them, call them, schedule, if for nothing else than your own peace of mind.
posted by zizzle at 9:49 AM on June 19, 2014

We have already seen them for the intake. It will be another month before the full eval. They told me to ask my pediatrician till then.
posted by MayNicholas at 9:51 AM on June 19, 2014

The poster already called Early Intervention and has an appointment. If you could get in to see a pediatric orthopedist, that is what I would consider.
posted by 724A at 9:52 AM on June 19, 2014

Ahh, I misread --- I thought your eval was through your pediatrician.

You can also call private clinics for a physical therapy evaluation --- your ped may have to write you a prescription for it, but I think if you're worried, you should insist on a referral to a pediatric PT.
posted by zizzle at 9:55 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're worried about the intervening month, see a different pediatrician for a second opinion about the womb-bone-crunching explanation. I was born with moderate-to-severe metatarsus adductus and my pediatrician told my mother I would "grow out of it." One day I had an appointment and my mother had to see the pediatrician's partner because my doctor was out sick. The new pediatrician looked at my mom and said, "Uhhh, what are we doing about those feet?" "Your partner told us she would grow out of it." "No, she really won't. Here, let me make an appointment for you with a specialist." Then, after seeing said ortho specialist, I had a prescription for special shoes to straighten my feet.
posted by xyzzy at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

(I should have mentioned that most metatarsus adductus *does* spontaneously correct, but mine was pretty bad.)
posted by xyzzy at 10:25 AM on June 19, 2014

My daughter didn't walk unassisted until she was 4. It was a long wait.

Here are some things you might inquire about (and EI is awesome - glad you're looking into it): gate training, orthotics (AFO or SMO), a stander, a walker (there are a lot of these masquerading as toddler toys if you know what to look for).

If you find that your child will be wearing an AFO or an SMO, you'll definitely want to look into Keeping Pace shoes. After playing the "order a dozen shoes from Zappos and return them all" game, there are pretty much the only decent shoes we've found that go over her braces. And good luck with winter boots - we only ever found one brand that worked and we were very sad when she outgrew them. You can see my daughter's orthotics pretty well in here if you full size.
posted by plinth at 10:45 AM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I formerly did fundraising support for an integrated EI program (OT, PT, Education). I'm also a mom.

I know it's hard, but don't sweat the month. In the big picture, a month isn't going to make a huge difference either way. These are the BEST people to work with your child. If your life can accommodate being waitlisted to get in at a moment's notice if there is a cancellation, call them and ask for that, but please trust me that the one month wait isn't going to do more damage.
posted by anastasiav at 11:03 AM on June 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I called our pediatrician back to get some advice, and tell her what I've noticed, but she just says that ... he'll outgrow it.

Our pediatrician told us the same thing for four years. Part of a pediatrician's job is to calm down hypersensitive young parents who freak out about every fever and bruise. But sometimes there really is something wrong, and in our case there was. The doc eventually came around and our son has been getting appropriate treatment ever since, but it took a couple of years longer than it should have.

You should trust your mother's instinct. If you can see someone sooner than a month, do that.
posted by alms at 11:08 AM on June 19, 2014

I think getting a 2nd opinion is the way to go to calm your nerves, but as someone who has gone through the EI route with my youngest (for talking), the month wait isn't going to be the difference between fixing any issues and your child walking/standing poorly for the rest of their life (I know it feels that way, really I do). Just remember, that even after the full eval there is going to be to time to set up the EI and all the accompanying protocols. In fact, the full eval is mostly going to tell you what you already know, that your kid is delayed in gross motor (possible fine motor as well, I don't know). And then you will get set up with a physical therapist type of person, or whatever else you might need. But brace yourself, that even with this, things are going to take time to get going. The good news is EI is great and it is EARLY intervention, so you aren't late, you are still early, you are catching this early, even if it takes a couple months to start working on the problem.
posted by katers890 at 11:30 AM on June 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't really understand what Early Intervention, as a program, does, but I also don't understand why your pediatrician is not evaluating the problem. If there is an anatomic problem that can be fixed, why is it not being addressed within you health care plan? She/he hasn't diagnosed the problem. That seems pretty slipshod to me and I would get a second opinion before spending time waiting around.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:47 PM on June 19, 2014

We had to go to a specialist for my infant son (who was miserable) and the earliest appointment we could get was three months later. For my MISERABLE son. So the nurse suggested that I call on Wednesday and Friday mornings first thing because for some reason, people always cancelled at the last minute on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I'm telling you this because maybe that specialist has a similar day that people cancel their appointments or some other hack to possibly get you in sooner.

It can't hurt to ask!
posted by jillithd at 2:10 PM on June 19, 2014

Thank you all for the advice! I am going to see our pediatrician next week so she can see it in person.

Of course kid must have gotten sick of hearing me talk about it and took his very first steps today!!!!! Many many steps all the way across the room!

I still want to let the dr and EI folks look at it though just to be safe.
posted by MayNicholas at 2:59 PM on June 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

We had an EI eval for my son (delayed speech) and it was fabulous. I loved getting that clear picture of where he was developmentally. Even if he starts walking like crazy, keep your eval appointment- it's super cool.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:42 PM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do not let the docs tell you what's up, you know your kid better than anyone. I had a fussy 2yo that had strep throat. I knew it was strep throat. I went to the doctor, who told me she just had a cold, and not to worry about it. My kid was fussy and I gather the doc didn't want to swab her throat. I told him, "this is strep throat." He insisted it wasn't and said it'd be a waste of time and money to do the test. I told him do the test.

I'm kind of a scary-looking guy, so when I told him do the test, I stared directly into his eyes with that it-would-be-in-your-best-interest-not-to-fuck-with-me-in-matters-regarding-my-daughter look, so he did the test. Guess what? It was strep throat. So I told him that I wouldn't be paying for the test today since I was the one who made the diagnosis and he wasted my time insisting he not give me the medical care that I was until a point willing to pay for.

The point? Doctors are awesome, but they don't know everything, and you're the one paying them. If you got shit service from a waitperson you'd complain and maybe not pay. Same deal here. If you need to, go find another doctor. But don't ever let them tell you what the problem is without some measure of healthy debate.
posted by nushustu at 7:54 AM on June 20, 2014

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