A new way to treat bowed leg
Natashia Christian, a 37-year-old Virginia Beach resident from Georgia, was no stranger to surgery when she met Sentara orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Campbell. From the age of 6 to 14, she had undergone several procedures in hopes of straightening her severely bowed legs. Facing vitamin D-resistant rickets since childhood, Natashia reached only 4-feet, 5-inches and felt constant pain. Her earlier surgeries provided little relief.
“When I met Dr. Campbell, at first I was a little hesitant,” Natashia says, “but there was something different about him. I thought, ‘Let’s go for it; let’s do this.’”
Dr. Campbell had previously helped patients with lower-leg corrections, and he was confident he could treat Natashia’s whole-leg concern with surgery and the Orthofix TrueLok Hexapod external fixator, a circular brace that can be adjusted to correct a bone’s length and shape. He had received training on the newly FDA-approved device just months before.
“Natashia’s legs were breaking down. She had severe arthritis, and her knees appeared to be double her age,” Dr. Campbell explains. “I knew something could be done to allow her to keep functioning.”
Campbell addressed Natashia’s right leg first and her left about eight months later. Twice a day, Natashia, who once worked as a certified nurse assistant and is now studying to become a nurse, adjusted the fixator. She recalls having a hard time at first with the large device stretching from her ankle to her thigh and limiting her movement.
“Dr. Campbell said ‘it’ll be over soon,’” she recalls.
About 14 months after her first surgery with Dr. Campbell, Natashia saw the rewards: She stands 4-feet-8, a gain of three inches.
“My capris look like capris now, instead of like pants,” she shares. “I’m walking with no problem, and I’m showing my son (who also has rickets) that you can do whatever you want.”