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Sierra, 22, was born without bones in the majority of her toes on her left foot, as well as severely malformed toes on her right foot. She says that her condition, caused by an in-utero occurrence called amniotic band syndrome, has affected her physically and emotionally throughout her life.
“I would always try to hide my left foot behind my right foot,” she explains.
When she was a child, doctors advised that nothing could be done for her. As she grew older and became interested in sports, she found that her lack of bones in her left foot affected her performance. Additionally, since she doesn’t have fully formed toes to balance the distribution of weight on her feet, she has developed thick and uncomfortable calluses on the ball of her foot, as well as her large toe.
“I do not want to live the rest of my life with my feet and my toes the way that they are,” she says.
Podiatric surgeon Bradley Lamm explains that a minimally invasive procedure called distraction osteogenesis can be used to help naturally lengthen the bones in the feet. The surgery would involve breaking the bone and inserting a device to create space in which the bones can grow. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says that if done slowly enough, the skin should stretch naturally as well, though skin grafts may become necessary.
Dr. Lamm adds that if Sierra proves to be a good candidate for the surgery, he will happily perform it for her free of charge.