A Florida man with a rare genetic mutation that leaves him feeling like he’s “walking on glass” landed in the office of TLC’s Dr. Brad Schaeffer, desperately seeking help for what the doctor described as “the largest feet I’ve ever seen.”
Jeffrey Ortega, whose case was featured on Thursday’s episode of “My Feet Are Killing Me,” was diagnosed with Proteus syndrome, which started when he was 9 months old and has progressively gotten worse. The rare disorder causes an overgrowth of various tissues in the body, which may result in skeletal malformation, benign or malignant tumors, malformations of blood vessels, bullous pulmonary disease and certain skin lesions, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
In some cases, the condition may even lead to life-threatening complications, while others may only exhibit a few mild symptoms. Treatment varies from patient-to-patient depending on the symptoms, but it typically involves multiple procedures to control the overgrowth.
For Ortega, his quest for relief has been a years-long process, with his case first making headlines back in 2015 after he started a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising money for an amputation. The amputation never happened, and on Thursday’s episode, Ortega visits Schaeffer at his New Jersey office and is accompanied by his mother, Alicia, still searching for relief.
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