I am 26 year old veterinarian and an was diagnosed with hip dysplasia 3 years ago (later half of 2012). The unfortunate part was, that this diagnosis only came through me pushing my doctor. Throughout my childhood, from as early as I can remember (being about 4 years of age) I suffered severe hip pain and associated problems only to be pushed away by family doctors, disregarded as growing pains, or it just being in my head. My mum was told she was ‘cruel’ for wanting me to be x-rayed to be checked. I was always picked on for walking funny, my mum used to say that I waddled… others simply said my lower posture was terrible (I find my pelvis rotates forward, without me realising to increase femoral head coverage to minimise subluxating).

It was in 2010 when, after not being able to walk, get in and out of bed or a vehicle, and starting to subluxate my hip that I saw my GP about my hip/groin pain. This doctor referred me on for X-rays and ultrasound. The X-rays had to be sent away to be read by a radiologist, the ultrasound results were seen on the day (I am a vet so understood what was going on). On ultrasound they found a right inguinal hernia, this was my most painful side. I can remember laying down for my X-rays making the remark that I swore my hip joints were the problem and that I could feel them popping out of joint. The look I got was priceless and one of ‘I think you’re silly and over-reacting!’. I went back to my doctor a few days later and the diagnosis was made of a right inguinal hernia and that, quote, my X-rays of my hips were ‘anatomically normal’ (I will attach a photo of that!).

So I got the hernia repaired. Six weeks of rest followed and I was feeling better. I then tore my cruciate ligament in my left knee. A few more months of rest. My hips felt generally ok. But as I began to get more active the pain came back with an absolute vengeance. I was certain now that my hips were dislocating. I couldn’t get around most days. I couldn’t walk more than 100m at a time. My parents had to wait at every corner of the street for me if we went shopping down town in Wagga. That says a lot considering my mother has injuries from a car accident from over 15 years ago and is slower than the average person getting around.

I returned to my doctor in 2012 and voiced my concern. I said to him it was in the joint and I thought they were dislocating. He replied with ‘but you would be in a lot of pain’. I answered simply- ‘I am in a lot of pain’. I could see he didn’t believe me. He asked if I had been to hospital and I said no. He tried to dismiss me. After a bit of backwards and forwards with him he agree to refer me to have X-rays and an ultrasound, but only because he thought my hernia had reoccurred.

So back I go again. This time on ultrasound they found I had basically no labrum left on my right hip joint and I had what looked like a a cyst on my femoral head. On the X-ray table I laid there in agony. My right hip subluxated as I was asked to lay down.
The results came back as bilateral hip dysplasia. I was referred on to a hip surgeon in Wagga. I took my X-rays from 2010 as I did not have the current ones (as they had changed to a digital, web based system). He read those X-rays and came up with the same diagnosis. He told me he had to refer me on, I was too complex and I needed expert advice. This was in the June of 2012.

The following January (2013) I visited my current specialist and reknowned surgeon Dr Michael Solomon in Sydney. He agreed with my diagnosis and I was placed onto the waiting list for a PAO. He said if I didn’t have this in 5 years time I would need total hip replacements of both hips.
I have now had my right PAO done, exactly 12 months ago and am booked in for my second, on my left in June alongside screw removal for my right.

It has been quite a journey for me. And my parents. It has been one of upset, disappointment, frustration and heartache. But at the same time one of gratitude and positivity as I know what is wrong with me now, and know it could be much worse (e.g. bone cancer etc). My right hip is starting to feel good, in the last couple of weeks I have noticed a tremendous difference. Not saying I am pain free, but it is a darn sight better than what it was. Hopefully once I am fully recovered, after the next 12 months have lapsed I can start to appreciate a somewhat normal life again.


Cassie MacDonald

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  1. Fay says:

    Hey Cassie
    I hope you’re doing good, and wish you the best of luck for your left hip surgery.
    I was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia too and had a PAO on my right hip in the middle of Aug, about 5months ago but now my pain got worse! I recently visited my doctor and he told me there’s still a chance to say the surgery worked for me.
    I wanted to ask you how long it took for you to be recovered? Right now I limp while walking and Im almost always in pain.

  2. Cassie says:

    Hey there Fay,
    I have now had my left PAO, it was 7 months ago last week (It was done on the 2nd of June last year). I am still in some pain and discomfort and it still feels unstable. I get worried about this sometimes too, but then remembered that when I had my right one done it did take a good 12 months before it felt really good. I am hoping that is the case with this one. So really I still have a good few months to go before I know I can worry about what I am feeling.
    I still walk with a bit of a limp- some days this is pain related, other days it is because of the length discrepancy between the two. Some days I feel horrible and feel as though any movement is going to luxate my hip. Some days I wake up sore. Other days I kid myself I feel like running! And then other days I have taken a few steps in a jog and remind myself why it isn’t a good idea.
    Hang in there and keep your chin up, give your body more time. Time is the biggest thing!!
    Are you on Facebook and are you a member of the Hip Dysplasia and PAO groups? These are a fantastic support network to be a part of.

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