From a spica cast to a national champion.
My story is far from dissimilar to others affected with Hip Dysplasia, but my hope is to inspire and connect with parents and patients through this platform. Diagnosed at 18 months with Bilateral Hip Dysplasia, my parents took me to various orthopedic doctors who all were in agreement I needed to have surgery.
The five surgeries that ensued over the next four years (open reductions on both hips and pelvic osteotomy on both hips) left me spending an inordinate amount of my early years in spica casts, relearning how to walk on three separate occasions, and endless hours of physical therapy. While some of my recollections from this time are fuzzy due to time passing, I still have clear memories of the frustration of being “stuck” in the cast and frustration of being unable to join others in more normal child play. My parents had deeper concerns during this time and have more detailed memories of the worry if their daughter was ever going to walk or be able to run without pain.
Thankfully due to a jerry-rigged chair my mother had made, I was able to sit up and be more comfortable and independent. My surgeries were successful and although I am due for a follow up to take out wires and pins, I have let a completely active life to this point and have thrived athletically traveling and competing across the country on 2000 pound animals.
Because of the positioning of the spica cast and my love for animals, sitting on and enjoying riding a horse with my mom’s help was quite comfortable for me even when I was in-between surgeries and in a spica cast or brace. The hundreds of merry go round rides I begged for, or pony rides at the local farmer’s market fueled a young love of horses and riding.
Once my hip dysplasia surgeries were completed and my physical therapy had strengthen my wobbly legs, I began real horseback riding lessons which continue today. As one of the top 100 riders in the country for my age group (18 and under), it is now my time to give back in a meaningful way to the orthopedic community and other patients or patients families alike.
I have initial plans to share with other patients or doctors for a similar chair that helped me gain independence and do more normal actives for my age as well as attend preschool and kindergarten with others. I’ve scoured the internet and I’ve still yet to see a safe, child friendly chair that can be easily reproduced for others. While COVID has slowed my final patterns to distribute, please feel free to reach out and I will share with you my initial designs. My plan is to post the final designs once appropriate fabricators have signed off on dimensions.