I am 29 and was diagnosed with congenital dislocation of the hip at 6 months, but was advised I needed to wait until I was 15 months before they could operate. I had a salters osteotomy on my left hip followed by a hip spicer cast. They needed to reshape the socket to fit the femur.

My parents were told that I would need to have further surgery as a teenager due to my leg indifference and after yearly reviews, at 12 years old I headed back to hospital for an operation on my knee to drill the growth plates in my longer leg.

I am still over a centimeter out and walk with a limp, but they can not operate unless there is a greater indifference.
I have always had restricted movement in my left hip and could never cross my legs and there is only about 50-60% movement, which is getting less year by year. Tying my laces is hard and bringing my knee to my chest is impossible.

I love sports and was very lucky to lead an active childhood. I played netball, rode horses, danced and kept up with most of my friends. I did have to adapt – ballet was always tough doing the movements so they helped me change them. I couldn’t sit on the floor at school so they let me sit on a chair. Running has always been an issue and at 20 years I was advised by the orthopaedic consultant to cut my sport back and not do any high impact sports.

It was hard to accept, but I have slowed down at sports and turned to hiking to try and keep active and go to the gym. As the years have gone on I have noticed I am getting more pain in my joint. It is frustrating wanting to keep active and to keep weight off, without doing further damage. I have to be careful not to overexert at the gym or walking, however I have been so lucky to be able to do what I have done and I will always be grateful for the amazing surgeons that helped me.

At 29 I don’t know what the future holds, I am worried about it deteriorating. Friends have advised doing yoga to keep it simple, but I can’t do half the movements so I just get flustered and embarrassed!! Cycling is okay gently, but I have noticed spin classes aren’t good. Swimming it is then! :)

It would be great to know if anyone else has similar experiences or has any advice?!

Thank you X

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  1. Rhonda says:

    Hi Emma,

    I just wanted to say how great the pool is! It is a miracle to be able to move easily in the pool when you struggle with dysplasia.

    I’m on the other side now after two hip replacement at age 51. I wish you all the best in your journey to the other side. Have faith you will get there.

    In the meantime, take good care of those hips and check out your options with a couple of surgeons.

  2. Dani says:

    Hey Emma!

    I am 26 and I have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia in my left hip after about 3 years of constant pain and none stop doctor appointments. I was told that PAO was my only option by some doctors but told to do nothing by others… not very reassuring! So I have decided to not do any surgery at this point and try and do physiotherapist in the meantime. By pure luck I accidentally found a physiotherapist that, not only knows about hip dysplasia, but has it herself! I am only 3 weeks into my therapy so I can’t comment but I have high hopes.

    I have actually found swimming to be quite painful (delayed pain) but for some reason hiking works like a dream. I have also been advised to do pilates (seems to be the go to answer for almost everything now-a-days!). I haven’t had a chance to try this yet but will give it a go.

    I have come across a couple of books on Amazon recently about 1. PAO surgery patients as well as 2. People who decided against PAO and tried exercise instead. They have been super helpful and so I recommend maybe checking up on those.

    It is super frustrating being in pain but not being able to do anything about so I feel you girl! I hope for the best for you. I always try and remember that 1. it could always be worse and 2. I would rather have to deal with this than have anyone in my family deal with it.

    Good luck!

  3. Carol Tham says:

    Hi Emma,
    I am 44 and was just diagnosed with hip dysplasia 3 months ago. Thankfully the pain only started in January and it wasn’t until late September when I suddenly could not walk more than 1,000 steps.

    However it is a blessing that my cartilage is still good and suitable for a POA. If it is possible, I would encourage you to seek treatment in that area instead of bearing with the pain as you are young. Hip replacements would be delayed by the doctors to as late as possible because they are slated to last only around 15-20 years before another replacement might be required.

    I wouldn’t advise yoga. Because depending on your dysplasia it could make it worse. Swimming definitely is better because you get to work out and keep your muscles strong without placing weight on the joint.

    Do go for second opinions.

  4. Celia says:

    Hey Emma, I would wholeheartedly recommend Pilates. I am similar to you – unable to cross my legs and really limited movement in my hips and can’t comfortably sit on the floor. A lot of this, I learnt to be muscle tightness, so it’s definitely worth trying as I’m sure you’ll get some benefit.
    Like anything, it’s all about the right teacher and nice, small classes where you can get some 1:1 attention. I’m in the UK and have always gone to teachers who are trained Physiotherapists too, as they understand the anatomy fully and will soon understand what you can or cannot do but EVERY exercise can be modified, so you won’t feel awkward or embarrassed!
    I had a THR aged 29 and it was truly the best thing I did after being in so much pain.
    Take care & good luck! :)
    Celia x

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