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  • Writer's pictureMike Piddock

A spotlight on... STEPS: Changing lives affected by childhood lower limb conditions

At GoodFX, we are committed to supporting small charities making a significant impact on the lives of those in need. Our "Spotlight" series, launched as part of our Theory of Change, focuses on highlighting one small charity each month. This initiative not only provides exposure but also serves as a bridge, connecting potential donors with deserving causes.

We had the privilege of chatting with Ken Sanderson, the General Manager of STEPS, the leading charity dedicated to those affected by childhood lower limb conditions. We wanted to help him shed light on the incredible work STEPS is doing and its plans for the future.

STEPS was founded in 1980 by a compassionate woman whose child was born with clubfoot. Clubfoot is a condition where the lower limbs are misshapen, often with one or both feet at right angles to their natural position.

The charity's mission is to support parents with new-borns facing similar lower limb challenges. STEPS aims to reassure families that they are not alone by providing guidance and assistance throughout the child's treatment journey.

Current outreach efforts

STEPS primarily works with NHS Trusts, with approximately 80% awareness among trusts in England. Ken's goal is to reach every NHS Trust in the UK, ensuring that every parent with a child born with lower limb conditions receives holistic support.

The charity aims not only to ensure parents have the information to access the very best services available, but also to address the mental health and well-being of parents facing these challenges.

Real impact on children's lives

The work that STEPS does is very real and important to the young people affected by this. Ken mentions a16-year-old girl who had previously undergone successful treatment for clubfoot. However, in the last six months, she encountered a perplexing challenge—she found herself unable to place her foot flat on the floor.

The physiotherapist identified the issue as a growth discrepancy in her leg bones. Specifically, the front part of her leg was growing at a faster rate than the back, preventing her from placing her heel down. Effectively, the bottom of the girl's leg was not entirely sealed due to natural growth patterns. The suggested intervention was to perform a local procedure, inserting a stainless steel plate across the front part of her bone. This strategic placement would facilitate even growth, enabling the back of the bone to catch up. After a period of growth, the plate could be removed, promising a swift resolution to the newfound challenge.

Future plans

With desires to expand worldwide put on the back burner due to COVID, the STEPS team has worked hard to restore financial stability, and once again STEPS is looking to the future. While the global expansion dream is on hold, the immediate focus is on ensuring that every family in the UK receives comprehensive support.

World Clubfoot Day

Ken highlighted World Clubfoot Day, observed on 3rd June, as an opportunity to raise awareness. This day serves as a platform to inform parents, families, and the wider community about clubfoot and similar conditions. STEPS actively participates in this global initiative, contributing to discussions on radio and TV to promote awareness.

STEPS embodies resilience and commitment to making a difference in the lives of children and families dealing with lower limb conditions.

How you can help

To support STEPS in their mission, consider making a donation through their website. Every contribution aids in outreach programs, medical services, and supporting families affected by childhood lower limb conditions.


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