Orthopedics Archives - Nemours Blog


A Life Worth Admiring: Aila’s Story

When Aila was just 2 years old, her parents started to notice that something was off. Each time Aila tried to walk, she was always holding onto something. She seemed to struggle when she wasn’t gripping her toy stroller. After going to see a local physical therapist, Aila’s family found out that she had SMA. SMA, or spinal muscular atrophy, is a genetic disorder that can affect your muscles, nerve cells, and spinal cord. People with SMA may experience a decline in strength and limited mobility. As Aila grew older, she had to use a wheelchair. She discovered that she could not complete tasks, like basic hygiene actions, on her own and frequently needed assistance. When she was about 7 years old, Aila began seeing doctors at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida. Her family was making 6-hour drives for Aila to be treated at Nemours Children’s. After countless hours of research […]

A Foundation for Success: Jillian’s Story (In Her Own Words)

My name is Jillian Franko, and I am 26 years old. I was born with several physical complications including club feet, dislocations of the knees, hips and elbows, and severe cervical kyphosis. As parents, my mom and dad wanted to ensure that I received the best care. They scheduled an appointment for me with an orthopedic specialist, who recommended serial leg casting for my club feet. This procedure meant weekly visits to have my feet repositioned and cast. Not seeing any results from serial leg casting, my mom contacted a local children’s hospital. She made appointments with specialists in genetics, orthopedics, and neurology. Unfortunately, they were unable to determine a diagnosis, and thus, could not provide proper care or treatment plans. Unsatisfied with the outcome of these appointments, my mom contacted the Schuylkill County Society for Crippled Children. She spoke with the organization’s director, who informed her of their free […]

Beyond Diagnoses: Gaby’s Story

When Gaby was four years old, her family noticed that she was barely talking, was frequently losing her balance, and experiencing severe migraines. After going through many tests, including a sleep study, they found out that she had Chiari malformation. As Gaby continued to grow, her doctors uncovered more diagnoses including scoliosis, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), Tethered Cord, Syringomyelia, secondary Hydrocephalus PTSD, among many others. Gaby was seeing a plethora of doctors and undergoing several different therapies, surgeries, and medications. However, her family was having difficulty finding doctors that specialized in Gaby’s conditions in Tampa. After doing some research, Gaby’s mom, Diana, found Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida. Their first visit at Nemours Children’s was with the neurology team in Orlando when Gaby was about nine years old. “As a parent who has dealt with so many doctors, I have experienced doctors who don’t even know how to pronounce her […]

Overcoming Hip Dysplasia: Julieth’s Journey

Discover the inspiring story of Julieth, who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at a young age. Learn about her treatment at Nemours Children’s Health and the impact it had on her life.

The Best Care Has No Limits

Experience the remarkable journey of Jeremiah, a baby with a rare genetic disorder, as his family finds hope and the best care at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

Scoliosis Awareness Month: Abigail’s Story

Abigail is a 16-year-old girl who was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was in middle school. It was during her annual health visit when her spine caught the doctor’s attention. Abigail’s mother, Serena, took her daughter to see an orthopedic specialist at Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, where they met with Dr. Kevin Neal and were told that Abigail had scoliosis. Initially, no further actions were taken as the scoliosis wasn’t severe. However, about a year had passed when Abigail started experiencing more pain and her posture worsened. So, they went back to Dr. Neal at Nemours Children’s and Abigail was put into a TLSO brace.  The care team at Nemours played a vital role in Abigail’s treatment. “Mike, in particular, was fabulous,” says Serena. Michael Wright, Director of Prosthetics & Orthotics, ordered and fitted Abigail’s scoliosis brace. “He played his role perfectly, giving Abigail a sense of comfort throughout the […]

Slopes and Waves: Natalie’s Journey to Overcoming Scoliosis

Natalie had always been an active teenager with a love for surfing, skiing, and running. She would often spend her weekends hitting the slopes or catching waves at the beach with her friends. Determined, Natalie worked hard to become the best athlete she could to achieve her goals. However, during a routine check-up at her pediatrician’s office, Natalie received some unexpected news. She had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, a condition that causes the spine to curve. Her pediatrician referred her to Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware to meet with Dr. Suken Shah, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Despite the busy nature of the hospital, Natalie was treated with kindness, patience, and respect. Dr. Shah took the time to talk with her and understand her as a person, not just a patient with a medical condition. He mapped out a care plan for her scoliosis to get her back to her active lifestyle. At […]

Riley’s Scoliosis Journey

When Riley was born, she was diagnosed with a rare bone dysplasia that made her bones irregular in size and shape. As she grew, the dysplasia began to manifest itself in her spine, and she was diagnosed with congenital kyphoscoliosis at just one year old. For the next five years, Riley saw a specialist in Massachusetts and had to wear a brace for over 18 hours a day for six years. When Riley’s family moved to Pennsylvania for a new opportunity, they were referred to the amazing team at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware. There, they met with Dr. William Mackenzie, who continued to provide Riley with the best care possible. As time went on, she had to undergo several casts, and implantation of magnetically controlled growing rods. This surgery, a complex procedure performed by both Dr Mackenzie and Dr. Suken Shah, pediatric orthopedic spinal surgeon, was successful to maintain the […]

Scoliosis Awareness Month: Riley’s Story

When Riley’s father noticed a slight curvature in her spine, they decided to have it checked by a doctor. They headed to Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville where Dr. Neal diagnosed Riley with scoliosis in the summer of 2015. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a sideways curvature is found in the spine, causing issues such as back problems and discomfort. When Riley was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 12, her spine curvature was about 25 degrees. Riley went through periods of wearing braces to try and correct the curvature. Unfortunately, the braces weren’t producing the results she had hoped. As she got older, the curvature continued to worsen to about 50 degrees. When she was 14, Riley decided to stop treatment and wait for spinal fusion surgery until she felt ready. By age 18, Riley’s pain grew stronger, and she decided it might be time for the surgery. Riley […]

Scoliosis Awareness Month: Smith’s Story

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the curvature of the spine and can be a challenging diagnosis for anyone to receive. For the Downing family, this diagnosis became a reality when their son, Smith, was only 15 months old. When Smith’s mother noticed asymmetry with Smith’s back, the Downing family sought out medical advice. After completing an MRI scan, the results confirmed that Smith had idiopathic infantile scoliosis with a 56-degree S-curve.   Smith’s scoliosis was also progressing. The Downings were concerned that if it were to continue at a high rate, Smith’s Smith’s scoliosis was also progressing. The Downing’s, who knew little about scoliosis at a toddler’s age, began to research as much as possible. They reached out to several doctors and hospitals but found little comfort in the limited options for correction. Most options presented to them by physicians included surgery with high complication rates, until they met Dr. […]

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