Ryleigh’s Story

Ever since my daughter began walking I have questioned her pediatricians about her waddling gait and both said that she would grow out of it. Fast forward to when she briefly attended a new school about 2 months ago and the teacher asked me on her first day what was wrong with her…. I scoffed of course saying nothing.. Her doctor suggested she would grow out of it.

But that comment haunted me. No one had said anything to me since when she first started walking sooo I assumed that all was fine. It was just how God made her different.

So I made an appointment with a new pediatrician to finally end my crazed idea that there may be something wrong. I even had to convince her to get the refferal for the next level of an ortho eval.

Still when we went I still did not see coming what happened. He sent us down for an x-ray and when we came back up and he looked at them… there was a long silence. When he finally told me ‘Her hips are dislocated’ My literal thought was (oh.. well that makes sense I think… I wonder what he does, just stick her on the table and pop them back in?)

That thought was quickly forgotten as he began to describe to me what the procedure is for this age of a child with this disorder. In fact he has never seen it in a child as old as she is. Every time I think about any of this it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I am having a very difficult time with accepting this and accepting what seems to be the only solution for her which is imminent surgery.

He is at an orthopedic confernce this week and brought her x-rays to consult with others and we are going back in a couple of weeks to discuss a treatment plan I guess.

I am so upset by all of this and don’t know where to turn. Has anyone gone through this with an oder child?

Is there any one that has had treatment later in life as opposed to this young?

I just don’t know what to do.

Thank you!!




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  1. Dale says:

    I am a 67 year old woman who is getting ready for my second hip replacement. Left one was done 9 years ago and at that time, my doctor informed me after the operation that I had hip dysplasia and the right one is also an issue. I am now at the point where it is too painful to continue without it. The part that amazes me is that until my left hip was replaced, no doctor ever looked for hip replacement issues although I had many comment throughout my life that I walked like a duck (waddled). Apparently that is a classic symptom. I also had a lot of pain throughout the years but thought it normal and that everyone must have the same issues. I ran a lot in my youth although it was a strange run/gait and that probably didn’t help. My left leg is also noticeably shorter and further compounds the walking and effect on the right hip.

    So my point in all of this is, don’t let it go on thinking it is something that will be outgrown. In this day and age, there is no excuse for a child to be left to suffer this condition by the medical field.

  2. Sasha says:

    Dale: I am so sorry for the terrible discomfort that you have gone through. We have been passed from a few Ortho surgeons due to her age and I have many unanswerd questions. I have done a lot of research and a lot depends on the particulars of the case. Both of her hips are dislocated and I know she will have to have surgery. It is said that sometimes it doesn’t work and can redisclocate even after the surgeries and physical therapy, casts, etc. As a mom I am just considering every possibility out there for the best outcome for my 4 year old. I don’t want her to be in pain ever. Surgery means pain as well and there is a lot of uncertainty. Of course I will not allow her to suffer by dismissing the need for surgery. I am just exploring all avenues and figuring out what is best for her case.. This diagnosis has been very scary and I’ve been very fearful of the entire situation.

    I really appreciate your input and I hope that you get better.

  3. Dale says:

    I can understand your concerns – trying to explain the situation and options to a 4 year old is daunting. While I had pain when I was young – more likely the arthritis that sets in when a joint is out of whack, the seriousness of it became apparent when I turned 50. It was actually caught by my masseuse as she said my muscles in the Left hip were trying to protect something and I should have it checked out. This subsequently led to a hip replacement a few years later although they only diagnosed the hip dysplasia at the time of the operation for some reason. I am seeing the same specialist on March 13th to start the ball rolling for the right hip. Hopefully I will be successful again in being off crutches,walkers etc by 6 weeks. One of the most important things one can do is to listen to the doctor/nurses when they say -do the exercises- and that starts in the hospital with gentle movement. I actually had to be able to climb stairs with the crutches before I left the hospital/physiotherapy sessions.

    I am not sure how relevant this is for you in that 4 years old is very different than 50 years old. I did a lot of damage in running and pressure on the hips without realizing it, thinking exercise was a positive thing. The joint doesn’t respond well to that because it is out of alignment. Perhaps you could encourage your daughter to enjoy water sports etc where there isn’t as much strain on hips in the interim?

    One other interesting thing that happened and looking back on my life is that I tried ballet (as most young girls do) and was unable to do it. I could never put my leg up in front of me. I coild put it sideways sort of but not up on the barre in front of me. That should have been a sign at that time but again, it wasn’t something that was considered a necessity of life and an indicator of something else wrong.

    Good for you in being aware and an advocate for your daughter and I wish you the best in your path for a solution.

  4. Heather Vielma says:

    Yes. The same exact thing has happened to my son. He is now 11 years old and has to have his 4th surgery this summer. It began when he first started walking at 10 months old. I took him to his pediatrician thinking maybe one leg was longer than the other since he had a limp. He was found to have hip dysplasia. I am not going to say it is fun at all. The first surgery was unsuccessful. We waited one full year for the bone to heal for the second surgery. The second surgery was better and was good for 3 years. His femur then cracked exactly where the plates were that held his femur and hip together. That brought on his 3rd surgery at te age of 5. Everything had been good up until recently when my son informed me that his hip and leg have been hurting. We off course scheduled an appt.The xrays revealed that his hip is worse off than an old man’s. Dr’s words, not mine. Lol. He has severe arthritis and his hip is again dislocated and doesn’t even look like a hip should at all. Especially at the age of 11. We got the info today that a triple pelvis osteotomy will be performed which is apparantly extremely invasive and rare for a child.

    My son has been amazing through ALL of this and I think that is what makes me the most sad…how happy and smiley he can be during these tough times. I just wanted to let you know that you need to be sure to take her to any and all Dr. visits and if they don’t call you each year to schedule a check up, you call them. Don’t wait because that makes it worse. Unfortunately I can’t say it gets any easier as your child gets older. It seems to feel worse the older and more verbal they get since they can tell you everything. The cast afterwards is very difficult to care for your child in, due to the size and weight. All you can do is be there as a parent. Care for your child and make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Stay positive because the more upset you get, the more upset they get. Focus on their recovery and take it one day at a time. Your child may not be fixed permanently at once so be patient and listen carefully as to what needs to be done. I am sorry your child, or any child, has to go through this in their life. I wish you and your child the best, sincerely.

    *Heather V.*
    Fresno, Ca

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