Patient Stories

Marie’s Story

I was 14 when I was first diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia. The year was 2007.

At the age of 14 I was a national level gymnast. I know I always happened to have hips that were more flexible than most, but I did not think anything of it.

I had a bad fall in gymnastics on April 26th 2006 and I will never forget that day. I fell from the trampoline and the fall was not a really bad one I just landed very awkwardly on my leg. My coach and my mother realized something was terribly wrong when I hesitated to get up. ( I am one to get right up after a fall)

At that moment I still did not know what was awaiting me as I half lay/sat there for a moment. Finally I told myself “ok Marie now stand up”. I felt the most incredibly life altering pain that I have ever felt in my life. My hip seem not able to bear my weight and it was so painful.

I was rushed to the emergency room. When I got there they gave me an injectable medication in my hip to reduce the pain. The X-ray did not show anything. I probably tore a muscle and so I was given crutches and sent home.

I was in crutches for 2 months. I kept complaining about having pain.It was very real to me that being but everyone around me seem to think I was seeking attention, as the doctors could not find anything wrong.

I remember feeling dismissed and so alone. My coach was displeased with me because I would go to training and could not perform to what was expected. My parents were concerned but at the same time were being told by the so called professionals that I was fine. It was a very long heartbreaking 3 months for me.

On my next checkup with the doc I told him “no one believes me you have put everyone against me and I am only 14 if you really care please help me I am in a lot of pain”. The doc then told my mom that he would schedule an MRI and in the meantime, I would start intensive physiotherapy.

My physiotherapist was the most amazing and compassionate woman I had ever met. She really helped me. I told her about the events leading up to my physiotherapy as well as what felt good and what didn’t. She asked me what does the pain feel like or what it remind me of. I explained that sometimes I would sit and cross my legs and I would feel a crack and a jolt of pain would go through my hip. The pain would linger there for awhile after it happened and for the most part the pain was dull and achy.

She said “at the top of your head tell me exactly what hurts and really listen to your body”. I said “Dominique my bones hurt”.

She said that for someone who had never broken a bone in their life to be able to say that your bones hurt that there must be a serious issue.

I got the results of the MRI and the physiotherapist met my parents and I to see the orthopaedic surgeon. We saw (all in the same hospital) the doc and he said that the results were negative, everything looked fine. My physiotherapist pushed for him to do something more and told him what I had told her. We were referred to an adult specialist. All the while, still in intensive physiotherapy.

Finally on March 11th 2007 we saw the specialist. He asked what were my complaints and I told him. He pulled up the X-ray and looked at them (the same one everyone else has been looking at) and said it looks like you have major issues. My mother,Marie, of course started to panic.

He looked at the MRI and turned to me. “You must be an amazing athlete and have great pain tolerance because most people, if they were in your situation, would hardly be able to walk” he said.

He explained that he never performed this type of extensive surgery on someone my age. The particular problems were pertinent to my hip dysplasia and the additional damage due to overuse and my fall in 2006.

He said that I would need surgery; Pelvic Osteotomy and hip Arthroplasty on my left side. He said we would leave the right hip alone as it was not bad and in the future if I ever had deterioration of the cartilage on the right side we would do a Arthroscopy.

On July 17th 2007 (my birthday), the phone rang and I assumed it may be more birthday wishes. My dad was at a meeting and my mom was at to the grocery store. It was no birthday wish. It was the hospital calling  to tell me that the doctor was ready to perform surgery on my hip and that I would have a pre op on August 15 and the surgery on the 21st. She ended the call with a “happy birthday”. Mom walked in shortly after and asked why I looked like I just saw a ghost. I explained to her the situation and she said it would be ok, we would get through it together.

As scheduled we went in for the pre op and a few days later got the surgery. I was given a epidural on top of all the other things they gave me to ensure that I had good pain management afterward. I was in the hospital for 16 days and on crutches for 4 months. I learned I take my first steps with my physiotherapist Dominique.

It was a long and painful recovery and after many tears shed, and a scar of 29.6 cm, I am doing great. Plus I now have 3 pins in my hip. I was not able to go back into gymnastics at the same level but it does not stop me from still participating.

The pain is gone but some days, depending on the weather and how much exercise I’ve done, I need to rest as my hip gets very sore.

Anyhow, all this my story and I am happy I have shared it.



(Ontario, Canada)