Down Syndrome Basics from Frederick Foot & Ankle
At Frederick Foot & Ankle, we enjoy giving back to the community and participating in many local events, but one cause that is near and dear to my heart is Down Syndrome Awareness. With my nephew (pictured above with me), who has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, I understand how much it alters a family’s daily life and how important it is to inform others. For those of you that have not been given the joy of experiencing a Down Syndrome individual in your life, you should know the syndrome stems from an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosomes contain genetic information that are unique to each person and determine their physical and chemical make-up.
In the United States, 1 in every 691 babies are born with Down Syndrome so chance are you will meet an person with Down Syndrome at some point. Some common physical features of Down Syndrome include: decreased muscle tone, flat facial features with a small nose, shorter stature, upward slant in the eyes, and a deep crease in their palms. Unfortunately, individuals with Down Syndrome are more prone to certain heath concerns like ear issues, poor vision, leukemia, infectious diseases, dementia, and dry skin. As a podiatrist, I know Down Syndrome patients have special feet because they are more inclined to unstable joints, weakened ligaments, bone spurs, arthritis, and poor balance. At Frederick Foot & Ankle, I feel confident that we can accommodate any of these foot changes with orthotics, braces, proper foot wear, education, and physical therapy.
Even though there are still many challenges for those with Down Syndrome there have been many great improvements in healthcare for those affected. Surgery can correct some of the congenital defects, while feeding and swallowing therapy can help combat low muscle tone. Speech and language therapy can also help the individual improve their communication skills. In addition to medical advancements, there are groups and events that rally around the cause to offer supports and additional outlets for those with Down Syndrome.
One of the Down Syndrome events that I support every year is the Buddy Walk. The Annual Buddy Walk takes place at Baker Park in Frederick, MD. In conjunction with a walk, there are many other attractions that include a petting zoo, carnival games, vendors, informative speakers, and more. The Buddy Walk this year will be on September 17th, 2016. The Buddy Walk is put on by the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. group. Their name stands for Family Resource, Information & Education Network for Down Syndrome. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is a non-profit organization that acts as a support group for families who have members with Down Syndrome and to promote awareness throughout the community. Meetings for the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. group happens once a month in Middletown, in addition to other events and outings they host. To learn more about this astonishing organization, read articles about Down Syndrome, or to get any other helpful information, visit friendsoffredco.org/.
And remember at Frederick Foot & Ankle, We Keep You Moving!
By Brenna Steinberg