Hey guys, I am a 25 year old young woman from Romania (Eastern Europe – for those who don’t know where Romania is). This is my hip dysplasia story. It’s a story that to me is unique and out of the ordinary, but which apparently is not much different from all of the others posted here. That makes me glad, makes me feel less alone in this 🙂 Here goes!
I was born with hip dysplasia. My mother noticed that I was only moving one of my legs, the left one I kept perfectly still. So I ended up having surgery at six weeks old. Only a baby and I had hip surgery. It wasn’t much success, I also wore a cast that covered both my legs up to my waist. I also had weights hanging from my dysplastic leg and was even put in some sort of medical circle which I was too young to remember and the device is probably no longer used. At 4 I had another surgery and a cast that covered both my legs up to my waist again. It was traumatizing. I was a lively child and having to be imobilized was no fun.
After the surgery at 4 years old I had no surgery for a while. I didn’t have much problems with my hip. I could walk fine, run and didn’t have any pain. However, by the time I was 16 I had a leg length difference of 2 inches. It gave me a bad gait, it hurt my back and it hurt my legs. It hurt me both physically and emotionally. I didn’t like my gait at all. It felt weird and uncomfortable. Others would sometimes point it out to me, and some would even make fun of the way I walked. I decided to have surgery for it. At 16 I had surgery to lengthen my left leg with one inch and shorten the right one with another inch. This way the length difference would equalize.
The recovery for the surgery I had 16 left me quite traumatized. The surgery itself wasn’t a complete failure, but the way I and my family responded to the complications still hurts today. I was supposed to stay two weeks with my legs completely straight help down by cast that covered only my ankles, after two weeks I would get the cast off and start having a bit of physiotherapy without putting any weight on my legs for 2 months in total. Not so much right? Pretty reasonable I thought. However, after the cast came off I was in so much pain and my legs were so weak I could not even bend my knees. After two months I went to a check up only to find out it was a complete mistake not to move my legs at all, and that my bones were not healed. The consequence was that I had to stay another 2 months without putting any weight on my legs. I started physiotherapy which went alright, but my bones were only healed after 11 months after the surgery. Until then I had not held my own weight standing. I had not even used a wheelchair, and had only been imobilized in bed with a lot of pain. It was traumatic, and the whole thing was filled with mistakes. Thankfully I had a great young physiotherapist, who was also a dashing gorgeous guy, and lovely friends that constantly visited me. My family were also there for me as much as they could and each in their own way.
Fortunately, at one point I started walking and although the recovery was painful and long I can now walk just fine. My legs have only a 0.2 inch difference between them and I have some pains and aches here and there, almost every joint seems rusty, but I am doing alright for now. I can swim, ride a bicycle, walk for far distances, hike and do yoga.
I can’t really jog, it feels too weird. Some parts ache while others feel weak when I try to do it, plus I’m terrified it would hurt my dysplastic hip so I avoid it altogether. I still have a metal rod in my left femur, the leg with the hip dysplasia, but several doctors said they would only take it out when I would need a hip replacement which from their predicaments should be when I will be around the age of 50 or hopefully 60. I do hate the way my hip looks, it feels abnormal. My greater trochanter grew towards my iliac crest and it pokes out through my skin. People can’t tell when I’m clothed, sometimes not even I notice it, but I’m too self-conscious to wear any overly tight dresses and its quite visible when I am naked.
I’m pretty much afraid of not hurting my hip so I avoid any activities I think are dangerous such as running, jumping on trampolines or doing any high impact sports. I do stay active by doing fitness workouts, yoga, swimming and riding bicycles. I’m trying to protect my legs as much as I can while not living a life stopped by fear 🙂 It’s easier said than done!