“Wait, What? …London?”

By Mel from Wiltshire, UK

I’ll never forget the day I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It took some time for me to reach the diagnosis and in some respects, I consider myself rather lucky as although it took a while I know for some people it can take considerably longer. 

My pain started around six years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my first child, four months into the pregnancy I started getting awful pain in my buttocks, groin and pelvis. I was referred to a physiotherapist and had four sessions towards the end of my pregnancy, to be honest it didn’t really help. The Physio said it was likely that I had a condition called Pelvic Girdle Pain. 

Shortly after my son was born, the pain seemed to wear off – much to my relief!  

When my son was eight months old I found out I was pregnant again. A total shock but I was over the moon at the same time. But I think you can all guess what’s coming next?!  Four months into the pregnancy and the all too familiar pain flares up once again. I was offered physiotherapy again but I politely declined as I didn’t think it would really be that beneficial to me. Soon after my daughter was born I noticed that the pain wasn’t going away. 

I had groin pain, pain in my legs..”

Being a full-time mum, it took some years and a lot of pain later for me to go to my doctor and seek advice. 

I explained to the doctor I had groin pain, pain in my legs – which I’ve had since childhood and had always put down to growing pains, and a horrible deep pain in both my buttocks which all got worse the more active I was. He referred me for a pelvic x-ray just to confirm nothing had been missed at birth and said the outcome would probably be more physio.

I left it at that and in the coming months I had my X-ray and went back for my results at my doctor’s surgery. I really expected nothing to come of it but the doctor said the x-ray had shown both my hip sockets were not adequately covered and gave me the diagnosis of bilateral acetabular dysplasia. Even he said he wasn’t expecting that!

I remember leaving the appointment and immediately pulling out my phone from my pocket and trying to find out as much information on hip dysplasia on the internet as I possibly could.

Before I knew it, I was waiting for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon at my local hospital.   The consultant I saw provided me with pain relief and I had a guided steroid injection into the hip joint. (For anyone who is awaiting this treatment – It’s really not as bad as you might think!) 

It calmed my pain for about three months or so. 

My x rays and symptoms never really stood out as hip dysplasia, one minute I was told I had it and the next I didn’t. It was a really confusing and frustrating time as I just wanted answers. 

The consultant then referred me to an orthopaedic specialist who specialises in this condition at a hospital in London. I would then get a definitive diagnosis and he said surgery was the likely option if I do have hip dysplasia. PAO and THR were both mentioned. 

“Wait, What? London?”

To my shock I remember saying “Wait, What? London?” He told me it’s a very specialist surgery and only a small number of surgeons in the UK perform it. Then it started to dawn on me how complex this condition is and how long the treatment and recovery process would take.

I had my husband and children to think about too. My husband works full – time and my children at the time were only three and four years old. How would we all cope if surgery was the only option? Guess there was only one way to find out, go to London and ask the specialist. In my mind I was heading in the right direction in hopefully getting some answers. 

Eight weeks later I met with the surgeon. He had arranged for me to have a pelvic CT scan prior to the meeting. The results were a shock to myself and my husband to say the least. 

I was told I do have hip dysplasia, the CT scan showed how much bone was missing from the anterior (front) wall of the hip socket, it shows better on the CT scan rather than the x – ray. Having no arthritis in the joint meant I would be a good candidate for a PAO (periacetabular osteotomy) instead of a total hip replacement… a preservation surgery for the joint…

If you’d like to share your DDH experiences, email your story to contact@livingwithhipdysplasia.com

Leave a Reply