Ziggy’s Clubfoot Journey: Taking First Steps With Orthoses

Ziggy Clubfoot

Three-year-old Ziggy was born with clubfoot and several other conditions. Recently, he was able to stand and take his first steps with help from his Hanger Clinic orthotist and Pediatric Specialist Cerise Gay and his first pair of custom leg brace orthoses.

Edilia and her husband Alberto were filled with anticipation as they awaited the arrival of their first child. When it came time for delivery, Ziggy was stubborn coming into this world, so Edilia’s physician eventually moved to a c-section. When Ziggy was born, they could see that his feet and legs did not appear quite right. Ziggy was diagnosed at birth with a missing chromosome and a number of other conditions that affect his mobility, including hip dysplasia, clubfoot on his left foot, and vertical talus (also known as “rocker foot”) on his right.

Navigating New Motherhood

Edilia found herself navigating not just new motherhood (at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, no less), but a whole host of treatments for her son.

“At first, I felt overwhelmed. But then I decided nothing was going to stop my son from living life to the fullest. Every child, every person, is relevant and has a story. My son will make his own story.” Edilia felt fortunate to have her husband and a strong support system. Additionally, she joined a clubfoot mamas’ group and did a lot of research on her own.

Ziggy is now three years old. He has undergone ten surgeries, including being placed in multiple hip casts and a full-body cast, and regularly attends therapies to help work towards his goals of walking and talking. Because of his surgeries and conditions, Ziggy has experienced developmental delays. But he doesn’t let that hold him back. Ziggy is super active and loves exploring the world around him.

Ziggy’s First Steps

Cerise Ziggy and Edilia

Recently, Ziggy was fit with his first pair of bilateral ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) at Hanger Clinic in Houston. With help from his Pediatric Specialist Cerise Gay and Orthotist Stephen Plant, Ziggy was able to stand on his own two feet and take his first steps. As Ziggy grows, the AFOs, a type of leg brace, will help him bear weight on his feet, and hopefully one day take his first unassisted steps.

“I am so proud of Ziggy’s progress and thankful for the Hanger Clinic team. Ziggy has gone through so much and is meeting his milestones in his own time. It was a happy moment watching him stand assisted and take his first steps. He now has the tools he needs with his orthoses to work towards walking on his own.”

The Power of Sharing

Edilia is on a mission to bridge the gap between people’s preconceptions and the actual face of disability. She believes in the power of representation and is determined to help Ziggy experience life the same way able-bodied kids do. They enjoy grocery shopping, going to the park, and even traveled on a family trip to visit Grandma in Honduras. She also recently signed Ziggy up for swimming and modeling.

Edilia has also been on her own personal journey, including struggling with postpartum depression (PPD). She didn’t realize until a visit to her doctor that she had gained a significant amount of weight after Ziggy’s birth. Fortunately, she was successfully treated for her PPD and also underwent bariatric surgery in May 2022, losing nearly 100 pounds in the last year. Taking care of her own health has given Edilia that much more confidence to use her voice, including sharing Ziggy’s story on social media and connecting with other parents of kids with disabilities. 

Ziggy and Mom

I continue to encourage and educate other parents of kiddos with clubfoot and other disabilities. There are always opportunities for more empathy in this world, and sharing Ziggy’s story is an opportunity to help others.

Edilia Zapata

Ziggy and Edilia’s motto is: “Always remember to infect the world with kindness,” and they can’t wait to see what Ziggy is able to do next!

Latest Updates

Subscribe to stay up-to-date on our latest posts.

View All