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Thursday
Sep292011

'Flamingo Lady' No Longer

ABC News(LONDON) -- Joanne Day is the United Kingdom's "flamingo lady" no more.

Day has a rare condition called dystonia that caused her left leg to stay bent up toward her chest, forcing her to stand on one leg the way a flamingo does. But she recently had surgery to straighten out her leg, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Dystonia is a neurological condition that causes involuntary muscle contractions and spasms. Day, 37, told the newspaper she had the operation because the pain became too unbearable, and infection had set in.

She no longer suffers from debilitating pain, and after four years of living as the "flamingo lady," she finally feels normal.

"This surgery has changed my life. It will make my life a lot easier. It is nice to look a bit more conventional," she said. "Skinny jeans were never an option before or fitted skirts and dresses -- I had to have clothes made for me. Now I can wear the clothes I want to wear."

An estimated 1 in 1,500 people in the U.K. (about 40,000) suffer from dystonia. The condition is somewhat more common in the United States.

An estimated 1 in 1,000 Americans (about 300,000) have dystonia, according to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, which makes it more common than even more well-known conditions such as cystic fibrosis.

There are nearly 13 forms of dystonia and, so far, there's no cure for the condition save surgery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio