06 July 2023
Bebe Jackson, a determined 17-year-old aspiring to represent England in the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, has been benefiting from a personalised carbon fibre splint provided by the London Orthotic Consultancy.
Bebe has been living with Congenital Talipes Equinovarus, commonly known as club foot, a relatively common congenital condition affecting around one in every 1,000 babies born in the UK. Despite undergoing Achilles tendon release surgery at the age of two, Bebe had received no further treatment until being evaluated by LOC.
In 2019, Bebe was classified as a T44 Para Athlete, a category for athletes with mild to moderate movement impairment in one lower leg. Her left leg is the affected limb, causing limited range of motion and considerable discomfort. Nevertheless, Bebe has been actively participating in various athletic events such as the 100 and 200m sprints, long jump and discus. However, she began to wonder if there were additional measures that could improve her condition and realised the importance of consulting with an orthotist. After searching for "orthotists near me," she discovered LOC's Cambridge clinic and underwent an assessment conducted by Connor Mumford, the head of the clinic, in November 2022.
"I've always struggled with my left foot for as long as I can remember. It tends to roll over, which isn't ideal when you're trying to sprint as fast as possible!” says Bebe.
Club foot is normally treated using the Ponsetti method during infancy. For teenagers and adults with club foot, symptoms can range from curled toes and fused ankles to chronic pain. Adult Club Foot treatment will vary from patient to patient but can include custom-made footwear to accommodate foot position to bespoke insoles and ankle foot orthotics to protect the joints of the foot and improve mobility.
Connor recommended a custom carbon fibre splint specifically designed to cradle Bebe's heel and extend along the right side of her left ankle. Made from lightweight and durable carbon fibre, the splint provides exceptional support.
The results were immediate and impressive. While competing in South Africa, Bebe achieved a European record in the long jump for her age group and threw over 20 metres in the discus event. This competition was part of the Commonwealth GAPS programme, which aims to eliminate barriers to sports participation for people with disabilities, as well as encourage women and girls to actively engage in sports.
Notably, para-athletes will participate in the Commonwealth Youth Games for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago in August 2023, and Bebe has just received the news that she has been selected to represent England in the discus event. Needless to say, the London Orthotic Consultancy team will all be rooting for her.
Our bespoke, carbon-fibre orthoses have helped numerous LOC patients. Including paralympic athletes like snowboarder Nina Sparks who uses a custom-made carbon fibre AFO that fits in her snowboarding boots.
Carbon fibre is becoming a popular choice because of its incredibly strong, lightweight properties when compared to conventional materials. Exceptionally strong and rigid, carbon fibre provides excellent structural support while being able to withstand heavy loads and repetitive stresses.
The reduction in weight can have a hugely positive clinical impact on patients, too. Minimising energy expenditure, enhancing comfort and reducing fatigue during extended periods of use. Less bulk means carbon fibre orthoses can also fit inside a wider range of shoes more easily without causing discomfort.
If you think you would benefit from our carbon orthoses, please book an appointment today to speak to one of our expert clinicians.
All photos courtesy of Instagram @bebejacksonn.