Do Tan Tai therefore has enormous difficulties in movement.
When he stretches, his foot is measured at 24cm wide and 35cm long.
While the big toe and second toe are normal, three others keep swelling out and have the same size as an adult’s wrist.
According to Dao Thi Chot, 65, his mother, when Tai was born, the three toes (third toe, fourth toe, and fifth toe) were normal. But when he grew up, the three toes develop, too.
When he was 5 years old, his mother took him to Ho Chi Minh City for treatment but doctors claimed he should undergo surgery. However, she couldn’t afford hospital fees and had to take him back home.
Since there are no shoes that fit his size, Tai has been walking barefoot from birth.
He often suffers immense pain when his malformed foot collides with solid objects while doing farming. Most of his left foot’s toenails also peel off.
“I scream in pain whenever the weather changes,” he said.
His rare condition made him quit school at 6th grade because he felt ashamed to contact his schoolmates at that time.
As a breadwinner in a 7-member family, Tai often collects firewood and plant trees for local employers to earn extra money during his free time.
According to Dr. Cao Quang Nhat of Phu Yen General Hospital, Tai’s rare condition could be filariasis or elephantiasis, a condition often known as elephant feet disease.
It is a group of communicable diseases caused by filaria worms that are transmitted through various types of mosquitoes.
Some patients cannot move and had to undergo surgery, he said.
The Traumatic Orthopedic Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Ho Chi Minh City are the two hospitals in Vietnam possible to cure this disease, he added.
According to a medical website, this disease is chronic and if the patient receives no treatment, permanent disability could result in the form of enlarged legs, arms and genitals in both women and men.
This disease usually occurs at a very young age.
Do Tan Tai and his giant foot - Photo: Tuoi Tre