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Abby’s Care Journey: Answers, Solutions and Smiles

Abby was referred to Shriners Children’s by a pediatrician in her hometown of Crescent City, who couldn’t figure out why she kept breaking her feet. They knew she needed specialized orthopedic care.

The moment she entered Shriners Children’s Northern California, Abby felt a sense of comfort that she had never experienced in a hospital environment.

“For 15 years, I had no idea what was wrong with me,” said Abby. “From a young age, I knew something was wrong in my legs and no one could figure it out until I came to Shriners Children’s.”

Jon R. Davids, M.D., assistant chief of orthopedics, was assigned her case and quickly put a plan in place to provide Abby a diagnosis and care plan. With an idea of what was wrong, Dr. Davids sent her for X-rays and an MRI. He confirmed a diagnosis of miserable malalignment syndrome, an abnormal rotation of the femur, the tibia or both the femur and tibia that typically causes knee pain, but also can cause hip, ankle and back pain.

“I had never received so much information,” said Abby. “I was thinking, 'Wow, my family finally has the answers we’ve been looking for.'”

Dr. Davids didn’t stop there. He wanted more information on how this condition was specifically affecting Abby. This meant performing a gait study on Abby in the Shriners Children’s Northern California motion analysis center. Using the same technology used to animate characters in live-action movies, the Shriners Children’s team places markers on patients and is able to capture data to make precise and incredibly accurate surgical decisions.

For 15 years, I had no idea what was wrong with me. From a young age, I knew something was wrong in my legs and no one could figure it out until I came to Shriners Children’s.
Abby, Northern California

“I love Dr. Davids. We talk a lot and he’s a really nice guy. Oh, and the gait lab study was very fun and interesting, and the ladies that ran it were very, very nice,” said Abby.

Abby underwent highly-specialized orthopedic surgery in January of 2023, and is now doing individualized physical therapy two times a week with a multidisciplinary care team.

“Oh my gosh, I love physical therapy. Me and Erin are basically friends at this point. My relationship with her is the best part of my care,” said Abby. “I thought it was going to be really scary because they described it as ‘intense therapy,’ but my physical therapist makes me feel so comfortable and listens to exactly how I am feeling.”

Beyond the operating room, Abby and her family are continually surprised and thankful for all the support from hospital staff. Her mother feels that for the first time in Abby's life, care teams have the patience to listen to her every concern and are providing solutions. Abby and her twin sister, Annie, have made friends with other patients and even administrative professionals around the building.

“You see smiles everywhere,” said Abby. “It’s like ‘You are in our care now, so we are going to treat you like one of our own.’ It’s like being at home and all the people caring for you are your family members.”

Abby looks forward to a future of getting back to activities she loves with more ability. She is excited to get back to doing gymnastics, surfing and playing volleyball like she never has before!

“I have hope now,” said Abby. “And it’s because of all the people here at Shriners Children’s and my entire family, especially mamma and sissy.”

Abby’s Care Journey: Answers, Solutions and Smiles

View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Hello, my name is Abby, and I came here to Shriners Children's Hospital, and I was diagnosed with miserable malalignment. I had a lot of pain. I couldn't do a lot of things like run and jump with my friends.

Speaker 2:

We were at a loss on why she kept breaking her feet and why she was in so much pain. And there were no doctors that can figure out what was going on with her until we were referred to come to Shriners. And within that first visit, we had the answers that we needed to get her moving forward in her care to get better.

Speaker 1:

Best thing I love about Shriners Children's Hospital is the, oh, my gosh, the nurses, the doctors. Erin, my physical therapist at Shriners is amazing. She talks to me like a best friend. She helped me with a lot of things because I was clueless on what to do, and she actually told me a lot about stretching and actually muscle work that I had no idea.

Speaker 2:

I just want to thank the doctors for helping her, and even though this recovery has been rougher than we could have imagined, the team has been amazing in taking care of her. And Erin, her physical therapist, just building that relationship and motivating her and exciting her and helping her to get where she's going, I'm just truly thankful for all of it.

All three:

Thank you, Shriners.

[Shriners Children's Northern California logo]

Finding Hope

Abby's care team at Shriners Children's has given her hope for her future.

Abby with her sister

Abby and her twin sister, Annie

Abby with volleyball

Abby holding her volleyball

Abby sitting on grass

Abby on the hospital's front lawn

Abby with mom and sister

Abby with her mom, Trina, and twin sister, Annie

Next Steps

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