BRITTANY Ballin was angry and frustrated – her foot hurt and she could not lift it up properly.
Something was very wrong.
It has been a very long 10 months for the 11-year-old sports-loving Monto girl as she battled a painful mystery condition that cost function in her foot. and caused pain in her leg.
"I felt annoyed that I couldn’t do the things that I normally do, because it was very painful and my foot didn’t function properly," Ballin said.
After many trips to specialists, the problem, which started in December last year, was finally found.
Ballin’s mum, Mandy, said doctors removed a 5 cm x 2 cm ganglion, or cyst, just behind her knee, that was causing the pain and loss of foot function.
The worried mum said it was a very rare condition for children as it usually happened in older people.
It killed the nerve needed to move the foot and Ballin now has to wear an ankle/foot orthosis (AFO) that helps her lift her foot in a normal way.
"It was pretty scary until we found out what was wrong; this took quite a long time and was very frustrating and the pain also became very severe in the end," Mandy said.
"I was relieved to finally know what was wrong, that they could operate and remove it."
Ballin didn’t let her new disability stop her love of sports.
The cricket all-rounder has been selected in the North Burnett under 12s girls cricket side, competing alongside able-bodied athletes and fellow Monto cricketers Sammi-Jo Pointon and Brianna Curtis.
"I think she inspires her team-mates," the proud mum said.
"We felt she was picked on what she could do with her disability not having any impact.
"She’s got a great attitude and never let it stop her."
Ballin trains most days with Monto’s state women’s player Nicole Curtis and rising star Emily Giles.
The bowling all-rounder will send down some thunderbolts at the Wide Bay trials early next month.
Ballin also competed at the Wide Bay athletics trials and thought she was selected for to compete at the state school championships but there was confusion over her classification.
Mandy said they were unsure of the classification process and did not give enough information but would be ready for next year.
Ballin does a lot of physio on the leg and foot at home on the family’s farm to strength the muscles.
The future for her condition is uncertain, according Mandy.
"At this stage Brittany has to wear the AFO for the foreseeable future. Her prognosis is still unknown as this is a very rare occurrence but for every month the foot drop remains, the likelihood of recovery decreases.
"We are still praying for a miracle."
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