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Miracle Monday: Meet Izzy!

Meet Izzy…

It’s a condition with a big name—Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenital Amyoplasia—but when someone on the playground asks, “What’s wrong with your hands?” Isabelle, or Izzy as she prefers to be called, simply says, “I have arthro. Let’s go play.”

Only about 1 in 3,000 children are born with arthro, or AMC, and amyoplasia is the most common form. Most of us have heard of clubfoot, but AMC takes clubfoot to the next level. A person with clubfoot has one or both feet permanently turned inward. With AMC, more than one joint of the body can be affected. Without surgery and/or intense therapy, people born with AMC typically wouldn’t be able to walk, use their hands and even in some extreme cases move their backs or jaws.

Izzy’s family has gotten to know Dr. Styles Bertrand, director of pediatric orthopedics at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia very well. At two years old and again at four, she had heel cord release surgery on her feet, which cuts the Achilles tendon so it can lengthen and grow back together. This surgery helped her feet fall more naturally, and in between, Izzy’s feet would be put in casts again and again— about every three to six weeks—to help her feet straighten out.

Therapy has been another constant. Along with physical therapy to help her learn to walk, Izzy still goes every week to work on her hands, which also are twisted.
Izzy still wears braces at night to help keep her feet in the position they’re in now: She walks, runs and jumps on her tiptoes, like a ballerina. She’s petite too like a dancer—a dancer with some pretty tough moves. Izzy also happens to be a world champion in karate and is working on her third-degree black belt.

Her AMC is not cured. Her family knows that if Izzy has a major growth spurt, they will need to “probably start everything over again. It’s a constant thing…It’s a lifestyle she’ll have to maintain her whole life.”

At the same time, “She doesn’t let anything stop her,” said Tania with a laugh. “But she is the first person to help someone get through a hard time. She’s an amazing kid.”