Girl teased for severely bowed legs gets transformative surgery

A little girl who was teased because her legs were so severely deformed will be able to walk, run and skip thanks to corrective surgery.

Newly released photos show how doctors were able to perform a transformative procedure in an 11-year-old, whose legs were so bowed they faced backwards.

Ortho patient Justine before surgery to correct her bowed legs. See SWNS story SWBACK. Surgeons have performed an incredible transformation of an 11-year-old girl from Cameroon whose bowed legs were so twisted they faced BACKWARDS. 11-year-old Justine is from the village Yaounde in Cameroon where she lives with her parents and older siblings. Justine was the first patient up the gangway at the start of Mercy Ships field service in Cameroon, because of her severely bowed legs, she had to be carried up on the back of a Mercy Ships nurse. Justine had surgery onboard on September 5th 2017. To correct the deformity required osteotomies to cut the bones in each leg and untwist her legs. She was held in long leg walking casts until the bones were healed.

In September, nurses carried 11-year-old Justine up the gangway of Mercy Ships, a charity-run hospital ship that delivers free health care to less developed parts of the world.  (© Shawn Thompson / Mercy Ships / SWNS.com)

Justine, from Cameroon, was born with Blounts disease, a growth disorder of the shin bone which causes the lower leg to turn inward. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the disability can get worse if not treated.

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Walking became so difficult that nurses had to carry the girl up the gangway of Mercy Ships, a charity-run hospital ship that delivers free health care to underdeveloped countries.

Ortho patient Justine with her medical team after surgery to correct her bowed legs. See SWNS story SWBACK. Surgeons have performed an incredible transformation of an 11-year-old girl from Cameroon whose bowed legs were so twisted they faced BACKWARDS. 11-year-old Justine is from the village Yaounde in Cameroon where she lives with her parents and older siblings. Justine was the first patient up the gangway at the start of Mercy Ships field service in Cameroon, because of her severely bowed legs, she had to be carried up on the back of a Mercy Ships nurse. Justine had surgery onboard on September 5th 2017. To correct the deformity required osteotomies to cut the bones in each leg and untwist her legs. She was held in long leg walking casts until the bones were healed.

Following five months of rehab, Justine returned home completely transformed.  (© Saul Loubassa Bighonda / Mercy Ships / SWNS.com)

Doctors performed an operation in September 2017, cutting the bones in each leg, untwisting her limbs and setting them back in place with plaster casts.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Hayon told SWNS, "Justine had an extreme case of Blounts disease with angular and rotational deformities of both legs rotating her feet 180 or essential backwards.”

"To correct the deformity required us to do osteotomies or cut the bones in each leg and untwist her legs,” he explained.

After five months of rehab, Justine took her last steps down the gangway last month and is now back home completely transformed.

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According to a Mercy Ships spokesperson, prior to surgery Justine had to have special transport arranged for her to be able to go to school. "On the days it fell through, she had to walk 4km to school and back by herself which took a very long time,” the spokesperson told SWNS.

"Kids were often mean to her; would tease her and run because they knew she couldn't chase them."

The spokesperson added, "Her favorite hobbies are running, playing jump rope, playing football, hide and seek, climbing trees ‒ all very physical, hands-on activities ‒ but she didn't let her severe limitations hold her back from them.

The schoolgirl, from Yaounde, in Cameroon, said, "There's nothing I can't do now."