To raise awareness this week as it is Healthy Hip Week I have asked some fellow DDH mums to share there experience. Here Ellie explains how her daughters DDH was also diagnosed late and the implications that brings.
Our daughter Roberta was premature – and so when her physical development was behind that of other babies the same age we weren’t too worried. Looking back, she always used to sit with one leg straight – which we thought was cute but thought nothing else of. I had also noticed one evening when giving her her evening massage that she had a second crease near her right buttock – but at the time it never occured to me that it was a problem. When she was approaching her first birthday I asked her health visitor about physio as she was slow to bear weight on her legs – but was told it wasn’t needed. But by the time she was 16 months old (in November 2011) our health visitor was getting concerned and asked us whether she had had a hip scan. Like many babies, Roberta had had her hips checked (in her case, a number of times) when she was tiny and at her six week check, but she had never had a scan as she wasn’t seen as particularly high risk.
The question was enough to give us an area to research. We came upon the ‘STEPS’ and ‘International Hip Dysplasia Institute’ websites and the next day we were visiting our GP requesting an x-ray for suspected hip dysplasia.
The GP checked Roberta’s hip and sent her for the hip x-ray. It showed that Roberta’s right hip is fully dislocated. Worse, as the top of the femur leg bone isn’t in the hip socket (and hasn’t been for a long time – if at all), the socket and the top of the femur are not fully formed as they need eachother to grow properly. She underwent surgery on Valentine’s day, and now faces three months in a cast to set the hip back in joint, followed by a night brace for another 6 weeks. She will need 3 anaesthetics during her treatment and will then be monitored as she grows. There is no guarantee that the surgery will give us a complete fix.
The frustrating thing is that if we had known more about hip dysplasia, we could have identified the problem and got treatment moving a lot more quickly. If that had happened, Roberta may well not be facing the risks of surgery, months in casts, and an uncertain hip future. When we found out about Roberta’s condition I was devastated that we hadn’t put things together earlier and felt that I had let Roberta down. Talking to other parents of kids with hip dysplasia this is a very common feeling – and one thing most of us share is a real wish to raise awareness of the condition among other new parents, to try and help other babies get the treatment they need earlier.
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