I’m Josie. I’m 24 and I have bilateral hip dysplasia. Yes, bilateral!

All of my childhood I grew up with ‘growing pains’ … Sound familiar? No one in my family has any health issues so no one stopped to think it would be anything other than growing pains. Why would they? The Dr checked my hips when I was born, they obviously just missed it.
So growing up with these ‘growing pains’ for me meant carrying on with activities despite the pain. Learning to put it to the back of my mind otherwise life would’ve just stopped. So even from a young age I had learned my limits. What I could manage physically.
I stopped growing in height when I hit 11 years old however the pains didn’t stop. My Mum was convinced I still had another growth spurt left so the ‘growing pains’ explanation continued. I am 5ft 2″. I never had that growth spurt haha.
When I hit 15 years old, the pain was just getting too much. I remember vividly one time when I was walking home from seeing my friends and my legs just stopped walking. The pain literally became too much so my legs just stopped moving. It was that day that I decided I HAD to take myself to see someone about this pain!
The Dr referred me to my local Hospital who unfortunately were clueless about what to look for let alone how to help me. They gave me an X-Ray, showed me the results and told me I was fine. A little while passed and I received a letter in the post telling me that the hospital had referred me to a specialist hospital where there was a consultant who knew a lot about hip problems and could possibly help me. Finally, I felt like I was being taken seriously!!
I went to see this consultant who did tests such as an arthroscopy which I had to be out to sleep for and i had more X-Rays before diagnosing me with Bilateral Hip Dysplasia. He also diagnosed me with Hypermobility which often comes hand in hand with Hip Dysplasia (Research the condition and bring it up with your Dr or Consultant if you feel you recognise the symptoms in yourself or loved ones!)
After being diagnosed, I was absolutely crushed if I’m honest. I think I wanted to be told it was in my head and it would go away eventually. Instead I was told I had a lifetime of hip problems and operations to look forward to. I was offered an operation called a Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO). The operation meant having my pelvis broken in 3 places and screwed together. I was told the waiting list was very long which I was relieved to hear so I agreed to the operation, went home and I went into denial. Many long painful years went by while I tried to carry on my life like I was fine before I realised I REALLY needed help now. I called and asked where i was on the waiting list to discover I was never actually placed on it.
Soon after discovering I wasn’t on the list I discovered I was pregnant so my hip plans had to wait!
My daughter is now 4 years old and I have had my PAO surgery. I’m currently 6 weeks and a day post op. Not that I’m counting haha.

I was diagnosed when I was 15 and I am now 24.
When I am recovered I will have to have a PAO on my other hip eventually.
A PAO is just a temporary fix, a way to preserve the hip for as long as possible until the inevitable hip replacement has to happen.
As Hip Dysplasia often happens in the first born daughter I was naturally worried for my daughter’s hips… I pushed for 4 long years to get her checked and I am pleased to say that her hips are growing perfectly!!
If anyone would like to follow or look back on my journey on Instagram my page is @josies_hip_dysplasia_journey
I have many followers and people to follow who are experiencing the same journey as me and it has helped me feel less alone!
I’m 24 and have only just found out I’m not alone! Please don’t feel alone!

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  1. Maria Campos says:

    My daughter had total left hip replacement when she was 19 and
    When she was 23 she had a hip reconstruction the pain is much better she can do a lot more.
    She was diagnosed when she was three had 5 surgeries from 3 years to 5 years, then at 12 her left hip gave out. Dr didn’t want to do a hip replacement because she could growth more, which she didn’t grew anymore she is 5.0.

    We are not alone. I say we because my daughter pain is my pain

  2. A.lee says:

    Hi my son was Diagnosed in Jan aged 10.5. He at present isn’t in pain so we are waiting for pain onset and then pao or triple osteotomy depending on age. This is to preserve hip. Replacement he will need one day. It’s hard waiting for pain etc. Hope you recover quickly x

  3. Claire says:

    I’m 32 and have recently been diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. I was lucky that I don’t remember getting any hip pain when I was growing up, the doctors think it’s because I’ve always been sporty and kept my hips strong. I have had pain for years but only occasionally, so didn’t get it checked out! However, in the last 6-8 months the pain has rapidly progressed and I’m now in constant pain and cannot do any of the things I love, hockey, cycling, running, squash or tennis. I can do limited swimming but no kicking! I can only walk for ~30 minutes, which isn’t great when I have beautiful dog to walk (luckily mum helps, before you think my dog is neglected). I find the pain is exhausting and am feeling isolated as very few people understand what I’m going through, and the process to get fixed. I guess it’s because they can’t see the problem….despite me now limping!

    I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing but I’m a physio too…now struggling to carry out my clinical duties and have had to cut my hours. I’m waiting to have a PAO on both hips (6 months apart!), which I’m looking forward to (if that’s the right words!) which I know is strange but desperate to get onto the recovery pathway to be able to start living my life again and be 32 rather than feel 60-70!

    How have you found the PAO process? Where did you get it done? If you don’t mind me asking.

    I’m so pleased to have found this page, been a really hard journey so far.

  4. Amanda says:

    Hi everyone

    I too have bi-lateral hip displaysia, I was diagnosed at birth. I can’t remember but I had the plaster cast splint and a few operations when I was young. I was “signed off” from the hospital at a young age and my parents were led to believe that I would be fine from then on.
    I really struggled through school with pe and hated sports day!! I was the one who always came last in the running races but I excelled in sports like rounders and hockey. I just kind of put up with the pain because to me it was “normal”
    Fast forward a few years and I fell pregnant, it wasn’t too bad until the last few months and then the pain kicked in. I had to wear a support belt for the last month or so but that didn’t give much relief, obviously pain killers were a no no :/ I did have a normal delivery though. The pain has always been there gradually getting worse but I didn’t seek medical help because as far as I was concerned I was ok.
    Fast forward again another 15 years when i was 35 year old and I had a fall at work that I had another X-ray on my hips, It was only then I found out how much of a mess they really were.
    I’m now taking opiates for the pain because my consultant told me the longer I could put up with the pain the better, it’s not the best solution but I’m absolutely terrified of having the op because I found out my femur is very thin so there’s a risk of it breaking.
    I would put up a pic of my X-ray but can’t find a link to upload an attachment.

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