Husband, Father and Clubfoot Triathlete.
Yes, you read that correctly. Tony is an endurance athlete and is also living and training with bilateral clubfoot deformity. Here is Tony’s inspiring story of defeating the odds and overcoming obstacles…
“At birth I was born with a rare foot deformity called bilateral congenital talipes equinovarus, or clubfoot. This deformity at birth causes the foot to be turned and twisted into the body backwards. The foot and legs resemble a golf club, hence the term “clubfoot”. My feet and legs are not like others my age. In fact, I should be in a wheel chair unable to walk let alone run, according to my doctors.
Clubfoot deformity has devastating effects on the body. In both of my feet I have deformed muscles, tendons and bone structure. I am missing about 30% muscle structures in my lower calves. I’ve had several surgeries at 6 months and 1 year. Surgery at the time was merely cosmetic and not for structural repair.
To this day I suffer chronic pain but manage it with my vegan diet. I did not learn how to walk until I was 3 years old because of the casting and being in a wheelchair while my feet healed. My mom was told that there was not much hope for me and I would be wheelchair bound for most of my life.
To this day, I have managed to defy the odds and train as a long distance triathlete. I am in a serious amount of pain daily but I do it for a greater cause, my son. Ten years ago my wife and I were told the same thing my mom was. My son too, was born with clubfoot. Devastated as you can imagine, I never thought in a million years my son would be dealt my fate.
At 260 pounds and at 5’8 I let the doctors control my life. I was told to never run or walk any distance in fear of further damage. I was told that I needed to be inactive. I followed their advice and became very unhealthy. I am glad to say today I have lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off for over 10 years by adopting a vegan diet, because of my son.
People ask me all the time why do I go to the extreme, to race at the Ironman level? I do it to be a encouragement to my son and others who are told that they cannot accomplish great things because of their limitations. I guess it’s working; my son now 10, has completed 3 triathlons and wants to be an Ironman like his dad.
It’s been a long but rewarding journey. Through my racing I have been able to give back to my son and others in the clubfoot community.
Triathlon has made a difference in my live and has given me the opportunity to share with others that anything is possible regardless of our limitations.” – Tony Spineto