I am a 35 year old male who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia around 5 years ago. The diagnosis was only made after I injured the hip playing sport, which I initially assumed to be a muscle injury but did not clear up, and turned out to be a tear in the labrum where the cartilage had grown to compensate for the shallowness of my hip. Up until then I had led a normal life, with only minor pain when I walked long distances or exercised hard (which I put down to unfitness).

Initially I tried physiotherapy, which was not successful in alleviating discomfort, then surgery to clean up the tear to try to lift the symptoms. However the pain has continued to worsen and after further scans and consultation, the surgeon has recommended that I have PAO surgery (initially only on my symptomatic hip although both are dysplastic). He believes that due to my age and the fact the the surfaces of the labrum are not yet badly worn there is a good chance of success.

It has been interesting to read the stories of other patients on this website as I look for information to support my decision. I am terrified of major surgery and a long recovery period, especially as I have two very young children at home and will not be able to support my family while I recover (according to the surgeon, for 6-8 weeks I will have severely limited mobility). Currently my hip is a nuisance rather than debilitating, but the opinion of the doctors who have seen me is that it will only get worse with time until I need a full hip replacement.

I would love to hear stories of people who have been in similar positions to know whether it makes a real difference, or indeed people who have not had the surgery until it was too late, to know what the alternative is if I do not go through with it. Will I really get the benefit, given that I am not yet in severe discomfort? How much better will it be to have a PAO vs. a hip replacement? My mother has had both her hips replaced in her 60s and neither operation seemed anything like as major as the PAO… so as they say, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Any thoughts and opinions would be most welcome, and of course if I do go through with it I will keep my story up to date…

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  1. Sarah R says:

    Really tough decision! I was not faced with that as I was not a good candidate for PAO and so I had my hip replaced at 26. My recovery was not that bad. I was back at work, standing and teaching at 6 weeks. I did hear from other people that corrective surgery is more difficult and often does not fully resolve the pain. Since my surgery I have been completely pain free on that side. Many thought I was wrong for not trying to live with my own hip for longer. But for me, my quality of life meant more than my hip bone and I have no regrets.

  2. helen m says:

    I had surgery on my hip a year ago and It toke a long time to recover and im stil in a lot of pain after the surgery and I feel that it has not work I have hip dysplasia. I waited over a year to have the surgery. I still have to use a stick now and again and I have trouble getting in and out of cars and im ony 33. I have more problems with my hips now as its getting worse again.

  3. VanessaN says:

    I am 52yrs old and just been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it was a bit of a shock but I have been in pain for quite a while, I am now on the waiting list for a hip replacement of my right hip with the possibility of having to have the left one replaced too, not really looking forward to it but the pain will only get worse so it’s probably the best option.

  4. nick says:

    My hip burns when I seat an feels like a stubbed toe an the worstess tooth pain every an can’t get a good night sleep an can’t hardly walk sometimes feel free to let me know if that sound like anyones problems too thanks

  5. Donna says:

    I had PAO at the age of 21. My hip displasia was discovered when i was a young child, at the age of 14 months I had surgery to correct it and I was pain free until I was around 16 years old. I started off with mild pain now and again but by the time I had reached 19 I was in excruciating pain. I had an x-Ray that confirmed that my hip joint had significant wear and tear and I had developed osteoarthritis. After lots of discussions with my consultant who was against total hip replacement due to my age, he decided that PAO was the best solution. I had the surgery at 21, and was told it would take 18 months to fully recover, though i was back on my feet in 6 months and totally pain free. Since then I have had 2 children and my hip coped very well until the last few weeks in pregnancy, where I struggled a little. I am now 35 and my hip pain started again around 2 years ago. Until that point I had been pain free and been able to lead a normal life. The PAO worked for me, but I do know it doesn’t work for everyone. Good luck with your decision.

  6. M says:

    Im 37 and also got diagnosed with hip dysplasia in both hips 5 years ago after tearing the labrum on the right side while at the gym. At the time i chose to only have the labrum repaired. I had two kids and since then had a third. Ive spent the past five years in pain on and off. Usually feeling discomfort in the area the labrum was repaired on the right side and somtime throbbing on both sides. Ive learned to deal with the pain and avoid activities that cause pain. I carefully participate in cross fit training avoiding any running or jumping. Walking and standing for prolonged periods of time cause me the most pain. The location of the pain has been most recently moved to my lower back/ area at the back of my hips. I dont want to do the surgery. I met with The surgeon who repaired the labrum and asked for an x-ray to check my cartilage. He said it looks like i have plenty cartilage. I feel your story and age are so similar to my situation. Id like to follow your updates on this post.

  7. Tsholo says:

    Hi Daniel, I’m 35 n was diagnosed with hip dysplasia 2 years ago, mine is also on both hips. I have the same reservations you do about major surgery. I have also looked at the stories on the site some r scary, I mean Helen is still in pain a year after surgery. I was IQn the defence force in south africa and have led an active lifestyle NOW my hip dictates what I can and cannot do which is so frustraiting. I’m worried that, the longer I wait the worse it will be but then I feel, I have come this far on it, why can’t I continue, maybe with less strain on the hip I won’t have to do surgery. Still, I miss running so badly. I have nights when the pain is so bad I struggle to sleep. I have 2 kids under the age of 5 n I want to be able to play with them, if surgery does not heal me and makes me instead worse how will I live with the guilt of not being there for them? I would like to know what u have decided to do since writing this post, as for me, I’m prayerful n hope to find an alternative to surgery.

  8. Fiona says:

    Hi Daniel,
    I was really interested to read your story, as I’m currently debating all the same questions as you (and Tsholo, who commented on your story.) I’m 41 and have dysplasia in my right hip. Following an MRI scan showing no signs of arthritis, my specialist has suggested a PAO. However, I’m concerned that my age will mean less chance of success, and am also concerned about the fact it’s such a major op. Also, like you, my pain is currently more of a nuisance than really debilitating, possibly because I’m being careful(although when it does flare up, it is severe)so am wondering whether it’s worth such major surgery and such a long recovery time (I also have 2 kids) or whether to just try and put up with it until it becomes completely unbearable the whole time, and then opt for a hip replacement. I’ve tried physio, chiropractors and acupuncture, all of which have had a limited effect, and I take Naproxyn on and off, which does help a bit. However, none of these allow me to lead the active life I really want to lead, in particular walking longer distances. (Although I recently tried Segway and think this might be the way forward for getting around…a sort of mobility scooter for young people with hip dysplasia!!)

  9. sonia says:

    Hi all I’m 36 and was diagnosed with hip dysplasia last year and I had ganz osteotomy on my right hip in august 2013 and unfortunately I’m worse off I’m still using a walking stick I’m very restricted in leg movement I still have nerve damage and wen I was checked by a new surgeon for a 2nd opinion I’ve been told that my hip has been ‘over rotated ‘ and I also have a tear in it so I have to have a full hip replacement. To say I’m fuming would be an understatement I wish I’d have had a total replacement instead of an osteotomy I would have been back to some normality and happier.

  10. Ashley says:


    I was diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia last year. I noticed pain in my right hip earlier in the year, but it wouldn’t go away. After months of being tested for a number of issues, I met with an orthopedic doctor who was positive that it was hip dysplasia. Until that point, I only knew of dogs having this type of disorder!

    Anyway, I also had a torn labrum on my right side due to the hip dysplasia. We repaired the tear in November of 2013 and I went on to have the PAO surgery the next month, in December. Overall, I was very fortunate to have a smooth recovery. When I say that, I simply mean that I didn’t have any major complications. I know you have reservations about the surgery and I am not going to lie to you. Was it a painful surgery? Yes. Probably the most pain I’ve ever experienced. Was the recovery long? Yes and it still is ongoing. It’s been almost 7 months and I’m still experiencing some pain; however, it’s not as bad as the pain prior to surgery. I also lost feeling in my right thigh, which is very common. It’s slowly coming back and may never come back fully, but it’s a risk I was willing to take to fix this problem.

    The surgery can take up to a year for full recovery, so I am still hopeful that I will be better by then. I’ve been using a cane since February, but it’s a huge step up from the wheel chair and walker I used after surgery, followed by crutches.

    Sadly, I am now experiencing pain in my left hip that is the same as I felt in my right hip, prior to surgery. I have had a lot of bad days after hearing this news, mostly because I know what to expect from the surgery. It’s not the most pleasant experience, but I am now realizing that I’d rather take the chance at being pain-free in the future instead of living with pain every day.

    I wish you all the best. It’s your body, so you get to choose what to do with it.

  11. Amy says:

    Daniel and everyone who has responded to his post:

    First off, thank you for sharing your stories. It helps me to hear your experiences in dealing with hip dysplasia. I am a 41 year old female who was diagnosed with developmental hip dysplasia of the right hip. I was diagnosed 2 years ago. I started having hip pain when I was about 35 years old. The pain became so bad in 2011 and 2012 that my husband and I decided to see an orthopedist. I was diagnosed by x-Ray. I also had a MRI arthrogram to look at the joint, etc. Luckily, the joint is still healthy. I had physical therapy for 5 months which helped, but I still experience pain when I walk long distances (over a mile) or if I’m on my feet all day. I just returned home today after running errands for 5 hours and I’m in pain. I re-visited this site to refresh my memory on hip dysplasia. My orthopedist recommended that I see another orthopedist out-of-town for a possible POA or arthroscopy. However, I have elected to wait to see the orthopedist out-of-town since my pain is bearable. However, The more I experience pain, the more inviting a total hip replacement looks to me. Thank you for sharing your stories!

    I was an athlete as a child, teen, and young adult, now my activities are limited because of the dysplasia which can be frustrating especially when we have an 11 year old.


  12. Daniel C says:

    Thank you everybody for your comments. As promised I have an update on my story. I have seen the consultant surgeon twice more in the past few months (the delay caused by the arrival of my second child). In the meantime the pain has wavered between consistently uncomfortable for several weeks, to hardly noticeable. As a result, we have agreed to continue monitoring the situation as I still have a good few years during which the PAO could be effective, and in his words, you have to be “fully committed to the process” to want to go through with the surgery and rehab.

    Interestingly, I discussed some of your stories with him and there are apparently two different methods of undertaking the surgery. The version which he practices is less invasive, causes less muscle damage, and has a faster recovery. Certainly, there would be no wheelchair, and he says the recovery would be c.6 weeks on crutches, then walking unaided thereafter while building strength and movement in physio for another 4-6 months.

    This is the guy who invented the revised method in 2003 – if you are thinking of having the surgery it probably pays to research your surgeon and his methods…


  13. Fiona says:

    Hi Daniel and everyone who has responded above,

    Just thought I would update you since leaving my response in May. I decided to bite the bullet and go for the PAO, as my only other option was to grin and bear the pain for another 10 years until I’m deemed old enough for a hip replacement. I have spend the last 10 years putting up with it so decided I had to at least try the PAO.

    The op was 2 weeks ago today and, according to the surgeon, went very well. I spent 6 nights in hospital and it was pretty painful but after about day 3 it started to improve. I was walking with a frame after 2 days and on crutches after 4 days. 2 weeks later and the pain is completely bearable (just on paracetamol and ibuprofen) and I’m getting around fine on the crutches. I’m allowed to put my right foot down for balance but can’t put more than 10 kilos of weight on it. I can do most things independently, eg: going to the bathroom, showering, getting dressed, I just can’t carry things around due to the crutches, which gets a bit frustrating.

    Obviously it’s too early to tell whether I will be pain free once I’m healed but just wanted to let you know that the op itself wasn’t as bad as a lot of the stories you read. Hope you all get your hip pain sorted whichever solution you opt for, and I’ll keep you posted on my recovery.

  14. Bridgette says:

    I was recently diagnosed with left hip dysplasia myself and am 28 years old, I have struggled with my hip for about 5 years and multiple surgeries before getting the correct diagnosis. I had to have my IT band released, gluteus medius reattached and a hip scope to repair my labrum and reshape my femoral head and to no avail I still suffered in excruciating pain. I was a candidate for a femoral osteotomy as it was the femoral head that was developed improperly instead of my pelvis, which is an even more rare form that if it were the pelvis. I opted for surgery 5 weeks and have done great, I obviously have pain from the surgery and healing but after the first week my pain was nothing compared to what I experienced before! I do know I will have a long recovery and this is by no means the cute all for the rest of my life but it is a better option than a total joint because with totals your first is always the best and you have to repeat the surgery every 15-20 years as the joint wears out and needs to be replaced. Then you will suffer higher risk of hip fractures and instability as the more replacements you have the looser the implants fit. I would definitely say it is very much worth having the surgery and not all results are the same but I do think it will extend your quality of life. As you stayed definitely make sure your dr is very competent in performing the procedure and has done many as some drs are willing to try and do it without having been properly trained or very familiar with the intricacies of the procedure. Good luck to you

  15. Álvaro de lanzas says:

    Daniel I was diagnosed with bilateral hyp displasia at the age of 37 , never before did I notice any discomfort except myself wobbling trait that I put down to one natural born characteristic.
    I have undergone two pao in dexeus Barcelona ,dr. Ribas , you can check it out at http://www.micadera.es …..after four years I must say that I am totally recovered . I can walk now for hours without thinking about my hyps . Not a pain but some nuisances from time to time .
    Doctors put in my hyps two iliac crest bone grafts from corpses that are functioning perfectly .
    Good luck!!

  16. Angel Maldonado says:

    My name is Angel (38, Male). I have hip Dysplasia and was borne with it. It wasn’t detected until I was 2 and had to go through 11 operations back in the late 70s to try to fit my hips.

    I lived without pain until my late 20s, some restricted movements and sport activities but always kept active (swimming, boxing, trx) and enjoyed a happy marriage and had 3 kids. As I was getting into my early 30s the pain was stronger until the past 3 years that was keeping me awake and night.

    Then I decided to take action and was referred in Exeter (UK) to the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre where I just took my total hip replacement on my right hip 36 hours ago.

    I am back home (London) with my crutches and feel extremely well. Got to be careful with rotation but I feel pity I put so much hesitation in acting. I believe is all about finding a well experienced hip team that has dealt with the specifics of your scenario before.

    I am looking forward to to my right hip in the next few months.

    Go for it, but make sure you find the best advice and professionals that can demonstrate they have dealt with a case like yours many times before.

  17. Tammy Biscardi says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I was diagnosed with left hip displaysia at 49 and was not real sure what that ment until stubbling onto this site. Can people please give me some feed back on what their symtoms were. I have not had a lot of front hip pain seems to be more left low back and side hip pain. My low back has been checked out and does seem to be ruled out.

    They did an xray and showed me where the hip bone is at 14 percent around the ball and should be 25 percent and was diagnosed with a labrum aswell. I want to be sure of the correct diagnosis and was wondering what other procedures were done for some of you for correct diagnosis? Any information all of you have experienced as far as pain areas and diagnostic evaluation would be great. Thanks Tammy

  18. Sammy says:

    I was as young as 3 months old when i aspirated my food and was taken in for X-rays. The doctor showed my parents the X-rays and told them both my hips didn’t have sockets. I then was put into a harness for almost 5-6 months. The doctor said it wasn’t working and we had to try something else. I have gone through 6 major hip surgeries all throughout my childhood and my last surgery was the summer before my senior year of high school (2012). I still walk with a limp, and remain having damaged tissue in both of my hips. My Doctor, Dr. Jarka from children’s mercy did all of my hip surgeries, and she told my parents it was better to get it fixed then to have two new hip replacements of the age of 21-23. I still have troubles running, and remain very weak in my hips, but I am walking.

  19. Justin says:

    So I have not long got back from the hospital today after having my labral tear confirmed due to having hip mild/moderate ( a 17 degree angle on the docs measurements) hip dysplasia.

    I guess your story is pretty close to mine.

    I am still struggling to get my head around the whole situation. The reason being up until now ( I am 36 ) I have been an exersice freak and a long distance runner with zero hip issues. A “pop” in my groin about 18 months ago started this journey in which I thought it was a multitude of issues yet an x-ray a few months and a talk from a doc suggesting I should “never run again” plus today’s confirmation has just been a bitter bill to swallow.

    The good news is that I have no cartlidge degeneration as of yet and even though I am 36 due to my healthy weight / lifestyle am still under consideation for a PAO. I have 6 weeks to decide

    1. Do Nothing but pain management and PT ( in all honesty apart from the constant dull ache I feel fine and have no limitations apart from the dull ache becoming increasingly worse as my activities increase)
    2. Have the tear repaired / removed ( change activities to no impact sport)
    3. Go for the PAO

    Is anyone else in a smiliar situation? I guess my goal is still to be “very active” even if this means going from running to cycling / swimming but the priority is to rpeserve my hip for the future. If I had the PAO after rehab would running be an option??

  20. Daniel C says:


    You might be interested in an update as our stories are indeed similar. It is now a year since I last saw the consultant, and two years since the labral tear was operated on. The clean up operation has, in all honesty, made zero difference to my discomfort, which is clearly being caused more by the underlying condition.

    However, there has also been no noticeable worsening in my pain – I still have good weeks and bad weeks but overall it is manageable. I still go to the gym (cycling/swimming only, no running), and I still ski (Although after a jarring fall I did experience several weeks of relatively bad discomfort).

    I have concluded that unless the pain dramatically worsens in the next year or so I will soldier on until such time as the seemingly inevitable hip replacement (hopefully not for another 15-20 years!). I have had to make small adjustments to my lifestyle but in my view, not as drastic as would be caused by 6 weeks off work and 6 months of physio (and possibly the same again for the other hip!).

    However, if you are determined to keep up your activity, you might decide the short term pain is worth the long term gain.

    Good luck!

  21. Poppy says:

    I’m 11 and I had a hip replacement maybe a month ago. I know this may not be the right spot to ask, but do you think that other girls my age have had a hip replacement too?

  22. erin says:

    Daniel C and Justin –

    Wondering where both of you are at now.

    Just turned 37 yr old. Active. Mom of 3. Bilateral hip dysplasia. PAO surgery recommended. Less than 16 degree angle, similar to Justin. Labral tears. Minimal cartilage damage at this point.
    Started 9 years ago. Have done 2 rounds of PT in the past. Just this year, noticed changes and have had to adjust my activities as a result. Contemplating waiting or going for it. Not in excruciating pain, but flare-ups are definitely debilitating, though they are quick.
    Wanting surgery to be worth it…

  23. Jennifer says:

    I really appreciate being able to read stories from everyone on this site. I’m 46 years old and was just diagnosed with hip dysplasia this week. I’ve had intermittent left hip and lower back pain. I’ve seen a sports med doc before but they sent me to PT and never did an x-ray. I started playing tennis and running in my late 30’s. Well, it turns out I have have mild osteoarthritis due to hip dysplasia. Reducing impact sports is being recommended which honestly is hard for me. Now I’m taking a course of NSAIDs and have been referred to PT. I do small group strength training but have been slacking on that lately opting to play tennis over the summer while the weather is good. I also stretch and foam roll. I’m considering seeing a surgeon for consultation but reading about the level of pain, recovery, and rehab time for PAO surgery is freaking me out. I don’t have kids but work a lot and at my age am not sure I want to completely give up all activity for months. I suppose I may not even be a candidate for PAO due to my age and the fact that I already have early signs of osteoarthritis. I may just stop running and cut down on singles tennis, do PT, and continue with strength training and hope to ride this out for a long time and then get a hip replacement when I’m closer to retiring ?!

  24. Jenny says:

    So interesting to read everyone’s stories (even though I’m a few years late to the party). I am 49 and was officially diagnosed with left hip dysplasia last year (though I self-diagnosed years ago). I wore a brace for my first two months of life for “hips not fully formed” but somehow the message wasn’t communicated or received that it was a structural issue, and everyone thought it was fixed. Totally asymptomatic until age 16 or so, when I had mild but jarring hip pain intermittently for several months. I was fitted with an orthotic because of a difference in leg length but since my parents thought my hips were fine now there was never an x-ray. Over the years since then I have had intermittent cycles of pain in my joint and hip and leg muscles that have become more and more frequent until during the last 7-8 years it hasn’t been intermittent. I am actually grateful that I didn’t know back then what I do now because I have done a lot of very strenuous, physical activities and work over the years as a firefighter, field biologist, and jungle guide, backpacker, rafter, etc.— all things I may never have done if I had been trying to preserve what remained of my hip joint. But my physical activities have been severely reduced in the last 4-5 years, and my x-ray last year showed zero cartilage in that hip (the right hip is perfect). How I wish I had gotten a hip replacement 5 years ago! My surgery is scheduled for two weeks from today and I’m so excited to get back to my normal lifestyle once fully recovered later this year. My 72 year old mother had one in 2014 and recovered well and very quickly and I only hope I do as well as she did. For those of you considering whether to wait longer or not, think about the long term gain of being able to experience your normal lifestyle without pain for decades before needing a new hip. It seems worth the short term limitation during recovery to me.

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