My pain started in March 2010, I was 29 and half way through my pregnancy. As my bump got bigger the pain got worse until I could barely walk, I had stabbing pains in my pelvis with every move I made. Diagnosed with pelvic girdle pain (PGP) caused by relaxed ligaments in pregnancy I was assured the pain would disappear after giving birth. The pain did go and was forgotten whilst I actively took care of my new born son. Six months later I took a Pilates class and as I moved into a sitting V position there was an audible ‘pop’ from the back of my left hip. It wasn’t until 3 years later, in December 2013, I would find out this was my labrum (part of the cartilage of the hip) tearing. During this 3 years I had limited mobility and a lot of pain, mostly in the groin area, which was aggravated with any activity, particularly walking and bending down. I also suffered with pain in the left sacro-iliac joint and bursitis. I was referred to physiotherapy many times only for the pain to subside for a short time when I would be discharged, get back to normal activity and then experience pain and limited mobility again.
I saw numerous physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and an orthopaedic surgeon who could not tell me what was causing all the pain and restrictions in my hip. I was sometimes told that the muscles around the hip were still not healed after pregnancy but, 3 years on, this diagnosis was wearing a little thin! Although I managed a lot of my symptoms with physio led Pilates, gentle exercises in the pool and pain killers things progressively got worse. By the beginning of 2013 I could only walk for 20 minutes before the muscles in my hip would seize up and the excruciating back pain would begin. Resting no longer helped, I couldn’t work very much and had to postpone studying as I couldn’t sit for very long without the hip flexors seizing up completely. As I was told nothing was wrong by many health care professionals I continued to push through the pain and managed it as best I could. However, the flare ups were lasting longer and my activity levels were getting less and less before I experienced pain so I continued to push for answers.
I had already had an x-ray and told nothing was structurally wrong in the pelvis so after finally being given an MRI scan and another x-ray I was given a diagnosis of bilateral hip dysplasia which had caused a labral tear and arthritis in the left sacro-iliac joint. I was referred to another orthopaedic surgeon to discuss an arthroscopy to fix the labral tear. When I saw him he told me that an arthroscopy is not likely to work effectively and because of the hip dysplasia the labrum would be likely to re-tear. So, I was referred for a peri-acetabular osteotomy with Mr Bankes at Guys hospital in London. He told me I had dysplasia in my left hip only , there was no arthritis in the sacro-iliac and I was a good candidate for a peri-acetabular osteotomy. It was not an easy decision to make to go ahead with the surgery but I decided to go for it as the alternative was to continue to manage the symptoms which would have gotten worse and then eventually I would have needed a hip replacement. One thing that helped me to make the decision was the fantastic support of other ‘hippies’ that had gone through the surgery and were much better off for it. The surgery also gave me some hope that I could actually be pain free again, able to live an active lifestyle and not spend all of my free time managing the condition.
Morning of the surgery – making sure the surgeon got the correct hip and the right surgery!
And practicing crutching around 2 weeks post op.
So, 4 months post op I am still recovering but already experiencing less symptoms and pain than before surgery. I hope it continues this way and I can reclaim mobility and whatever activities I choose!
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