Elizabeth blake

I was born with a congenital dislocated hip but this was not picked up at birth. My grandma comment i was not crawling right as a child, to keep her happy my mum took me to the GP. He inturn to keep her happy sent me to the hospital where at 13 1/2 months it was disgnosed. Fortunaltey it is only my left hip but surgery was required to re build my hip. I dont remember it causing me any problems growing up as a child but when i look back a family photos i notice my left leg never flexed like the right did. I was followed up until the age of 18 then discharged.
I went on to work in the orthopaedic industry as a marketeer for a medical devices company. As time went on i noticed i was getting less and less range of movement from my hip and by my mid thirties i was starting to adapt my activities to accomadte this. I learnt new ways to put on socks and different stretch excercises after gym sessions as i couldnt do things theway other people did.
After a particularly active holiday one of the orthopaedic surgerons i was working with noticed me limping and agreed to have a look at my hip. The X ray didnt look too bad but the range of motion was definatly reduced. He advised painkillers but said this was only a matter of time before i would need a hip replacement. He siad it would be the effect on my life and the activities i wanted to do that would make me decide rasther than pain.I managed another few years with painkillers and reducing activites, i stopped running and could only do a 6 mile dog walk. At 43 i decided enough was enough as i was getting pain towards the end of a day also and went for the Hip replacement.
I chose my surgeon carefully as one who specialises in young hips and evantually has a minihip with ceramic on ceramic bearing. I was in hospital for 4 days and came home with crutches. At the time i thought the recovery was very slow and initially worroed how long it would be beofre i got a good nights sleep and could return to work. I did not have a lot of pain but tired easiley after the shortest of walks. When i look back at the whole experience i realsie how quick my recovery was really. I was back on a stationart bike at 4 weeks post op, all be it for a few moments only. At 6 weeks i was riding it for 15 miles. I am now 3 months post op and doing really well. I have returned to all my daily activities and am back at the gym, most of the time i forget i have had a hip replacement.
It was a scary prospect to face hip replacement at 43 but i really havent looked back. If i was to give any one advice it would be choose your surgeon carefully, there are implants, like MiniHip, developed specifically for younger patients today. The other piece of advice i would give is follow what the physiotharapist tells you. The excercises are tricky to start with but it really does benefit you to stick with it. If the physio says to try and do less not more, as mine did follow what they say, its only a few weeks of inactivity which in the long run really is a price worth paying.

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  1. Karen Sutton says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Can you tell me whether you had an arthritic hip for the surgeon to agree a replacement?
    I am 39, and having suffered for over 30 years with my knees and 10 years with my hips, (after several poor NHS (UK) diagnosis’), I am now on Private Healthcare and was diagnosed quickly. I had my knees operated on 4 years ago and have very little cartilage left.
    I am under one of the best surgeons in the country, but he’s suggesting he won’t do replacements (it’s in both) due to my hips not being arthritic. I am seeking a further opinion but I wondered what your experience was. The difference in recovery times is massive and I’d prefer to be bionic! ;-)
    Many thanks and glad to see you are recovering well.
    Karen

  2. Sheila Hoffman says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Our stories sound a bit alike. I too was born with hip dysplasia of the left hip, with dislocation, that went undetected until about 12 months old. I was having difficulty learning to walk. One leg of was longer than the other causing a limp due to the dislocation. My parents (only 18 years old) were told by the doctors that I would need surgery to correct the situation. Scared of the thoughts of surgery, they held off. My grandfather was friends with a Shriner who said they could have me checked out at the Children’s Shriners Hospital of Chicago. The treatment of choice was to do traction treatments and a body cast. The cast went from chest to toes for 2 years. I was very blessed to have had a completely normal, flexible, active childhood and adolescence. Since I was lead to believe that this was a rare condition that most likely happened due to breech birth, I didn’t know much about it. I had a doctor once tell me that I would have to stay fit to keep the muscles healthy for the joint.

    My first son, born in 1996, was delivered by c-section after 26 hours of induction. Come to find out not only do I have hip dysplasia of the left hip, I also have the pelvis of a 12 year old boy, small and funnel shaped. It did not allow for dilation. I was having popping as if the hip was “stuck” through the years but paid not a attention to it. That was the breaking down of my labrum. The real problems came during my second pregnancy in 2000. He was a almost 11 pounds and my hip was killing me by the time he was born. In 2009, I went to an orthopedic surgeon to see if maybe the hip was dislocated again since I had developed a limp once again. He stated that my hip looked “healthy”, nothing was dislocated but that I had developed some arthritis in my last three lumbar vertebra. So I went about my business. I joined a healthy club with a pool, did laps, sat in the hot tub, sought Chiropractic, acupuncture and massage treatments dealing with the pain which has progressively gotten worse over the last 9 years. I finally broke down and went to a different Ortho. The x-ray shows that my pelvis is tilted to the affected side since the hip has deteriorated and leg shortened. I have bone spurs, bone loss, no labrum, bursitis and arthritis, not to mention a worsened back situation. I was told that I require a THR, the sooner the better. I’m not confident that this is the doctor for me though. I know it’s time. My activities are now extremely limited. Simply walking, working, sitting and standing are an issue. I can no longer put on my own sock and shoe and can barely get my pants on. Fun outings and activities with my family are greatly affected.

    I’m just nervous about finding the right doctor, the right method and the right equipment. I am also a self employed massage therapist which puts another spin on things. We have insurance but I’m concerned how I with take at least 3 months off of work.

    Glad to see after reading your story and the stories of others that I am not alone.

  3. Sheila Hoffman says:

    I’m also surprised to hear that so many people are being told that they can not have a THR when they want or need one. I am 44 and the recent doctor said that there was NOTHING he could do for me except a THR. He said he COULD do a cortisone shot but it probably wouldn’t help??? I don’t want one but found it odd since it seems that many doctors go that route first.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Karen
    Sorry to hear you are suffering so much. I had hip dysplasia from birth (only in my left hip) This was operated on as a child but eventually lead to arthritis and reduced movement as well as pain. I work in orthopaedics here in the uk so knew a good surgeon. I would say enquire about a surgeon who specialises in young adult hips and knees for the best advice as they have the most experience dealing with our type of conditions. You really should not have to suffer today. They may not want to do both sides at the same time but there shouldn’t be any reason not to get them done over time.Hope this helps

    Elizabeth

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Sheila
    There are some similarities mine was undiagnosed till 18 months then operated on so I always knew I had hip dysplasia but didn’t know i would suffer so early. As I said to Karen I think getting the right surgeon you believe in is the biggest decision once I was happy I had the right surgeon I was happy to leave decision about what implant to him. I know I picked a surgeon who specialises in young adult hip.
    I think if you follow the physio advice and again they are used to dealing with younger hip replacement cases you should be back quick enough. I was driving again at 6 weeks and back to work. It wasn’t the movement more sitting at a desk for long periods that made things difficult for me
    I hope you find the right surgeon and things go well for you

    Elizabeth

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