Four-year-old, Elsie, had to have her leg broken THREE TIMES a day for four months to avoid amputation after being born with one limb longer than the other.

Elsie Moravek from Michigan, was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a rare disability, which meant her left leg was deformed and much shorter than her right, The Daily Mail reports.

Elsie’s mother Jackie, 28, and father Matt, 31, decided to have their daughter’s leg broken more than 300 times in four months – or three times a day – in a bid to lengthen it by just over four inches. The only other option was amputation or prothesis.

‘A few local doctors suggested amputation, and we considered it because the leg lengthening process is so difficult to endure,’ said Jackie, a resource analyst.

‘We asked ourselves if we were being cruel to put our daughter through this and whether it was worth it.

‘But we knew it was the right decision. We wanted Elsie to have the best life possible.’

Elsie’s femur and tibia were surgically split apart and fitted with an external fixator device, with ten pins piercing through her skin, muscle and bone.

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Three times a day, Jackie had to manually turn screws to pull apart her daughter’s femur and tibia 0.039 inches a day, preventing the break from healing each time. New bone, muscle and skin grew in its place as the leg gradually lengthened by more than four inches.

Elsie was on constant pain medication throughout her treatment because it was such an agonizing procedure.

Jackie said ‘I felt very helpless. I was very pleased with her progress but it was hard to see her in pain and crying,’ she said.

‘I would have to put my mum hat on and push through it because I knew what the end result would be.

‘Cleaning the open wounds where the ten pins had been drilled into her bone was the worst. It was agony for her. I felt upset watching her go through it, but we had a goal in mind.’

Elsie’s legs are now even – but, as her left limb still has a growth deficiency, they will grow out of alignment again.

She will require another procedure to lengthen her left leg by nearly a further four inches once she reaches her full height. But despite all the pain and effort, Jackie said it is ‘worth it’.

We wish little Elsie all the best.

Share your comments below.

Image via Daily Mail

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  • what a brave girl.
    She seems so happy….


  • This is so sad, what an amazing little girl


  • Such a difficult decision to make. Hopefully the treatment will be successful.
    I notice Elsie is sitting with her right leg and foot turning inwards too. I sincerely hope this isn’t an issue that will later need treatment. It would also be very difficult bathing or showering her having to keep her leg dry where the equipment is. I sincerely hope it never gets infected. I know a guy who got an infection and the pain from it went into his stomach, not his leg at the infection point. His wife used to put his in a garbage bag and seal around it with special tape to prevent water getting in it. His was caused by a car going through a red light after stopping first which resulted in a fractured hip and leg in two places.


  • So sorry for this little girl and for her parents. How hard for this mom to see her little one going through all this pain. All the best of luck to them.


  • What a difficult decision to make. Those poor parents and that poor little girl


  • It would take courage to make a decision like this for your child.


  • What an ordeal for this little girl and her parents. The alternative was worse though.


  • Such a hard choice to have to make – but I am sure Elsie will thank you in the long ter. Don’t know if I could go through with it.


  • What a little sweetheart.
    Some people are given so much to deal with sometimes. Amazing that she has such a beautiful smile on her face.


  • My 11 year old niece has had this done we are so grateful as the only option her parents had was amputation of both feet and to never have the feeling of grass between her toes now they are preparing for her to be dancing the night away at graduation


  • What a horrible condition. I wouldn’t have gone for the amputation either. But what a sufferance for everyone!


  • Poor little darling. I feel fur the family to abd hope it’s worth it.


  • This would be such a difficult choice as a parent. My hats off to you for being brave enough to do it and sharing your story. Your girl is so cute and what a gorgeous smile.


  • Must be so heartbreaking to watch your little one in pain. I’m not sure I would be so brave!


  • What a decision to have to make! How horrible to be inflicting such pain on your little girl. And to have to do it all over again in the future. My heart goes out to this mum, you are one tough cookie!


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