Living with a bow leg not only causes pain, the condition can significantly impact self-confidence. That was the case for a local patient — until now.
It’s a condition Charles Jefferson had been living with since childhood.
“I always joked around about getting my leg fixed, like with my cousins, with my friends I know I’m going to be the bow-legged guy,” he said. “I used to notice this type of pain on this side of my leg and I used to have to stop walking when I was going to school.”
Two years ago, the degree of bend and the corresponding pain were at their worst.
“My leg literally was like the letter ‘C’ almost, it was crazy. I felt like when I put all of my weight on it, I used to feel like my leg was going to snap,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson finally sought help and connected with orthopedic surgeon Daryl Dillman at University of Chicago Medicine.
“Charles’ case was one of the more serious cases that I’ve seen,” Dillman said.
To help correct the severe bone deformity, Dillman offered the 25-year-old a new, automated fixation device. Jefferson was the first to take it for a spin in Chicago.
It’s called the Orthospin.
Dillman first cut Jefferson’s twisted tibia, then placed pins to secure the external frame in place.
“Every day, 16 times a day it shifted my bone millimeters,” Jefferson said.
Instead of manual adjustments often performed by the patient, six computerized motors controlled incremental rotations.
“What he’d hear is a beep and see lights on his computer and then he’d hear each strut do a little sound while the motor adjusted,” Dillman said.
Jefferson wore the device for seven months and has the battle scars to show for it.
“It was a lot of tears, a lot of pain, a lot of moaning and groaning and sleepless nights. The pain was excruciating, ain’t no other way to put it,” Jefferson said.
In late September, the frame was removed during an outpatient procedure. Jefferson’s leg finally strengthened, stable and sturd.
“I can get in and out of the car efficiently. I’m ready to start back working. I’m just confident in everything that is going on right now. I’m honestly grateful for this,” Jefferson said.
By addressing his bow leg now, Jefferson hopes to avoid joint replacement down the road. Dillman said automated frames can help many patients with bone deformities.