I am 38 years old and had been having hip pain in my right hip for the last 6 years. I approached my doctor at the time about this and was sent to a chiropractor. They did x-rays and found nothing of concern with my hip but did find issues with my neck and lower back. He said he was not able to help me and if another chiropractor tells me he can by cracking me to run. So, I just lived with the pain. Fast forward 4 years and a lot of weight gain due to lack of exercise because of the pain and continue injuring myself. I tried exercise again and was down about 30 pounds until the problems started back up again and with advengance. August 22, 2017 I went into work knowing I should have stayed home but could not due to missing work due to the pain previously. I had used up my vacation time and my FMLA. I had to hold on to things as I moved around trying to do my job, which is shop work. By the end of the night (I worked third) I could barely make it to my car. I sat in my car and cried. I went home and called my doctor right away. She took me off work until further notice. This is when my search started by going to different doctors. The first thing that was found was a herniated disk in my neck. I was then introduced to a new doctor. He did the surgery to fix my neck the best he could. I’m still left with constant headaches and limited motion. He started looking into my lower back and ordering different test. April of 2018 I went to Grand Rapids, Michigan to have a spec scan. To his surprise my back did not show up take but my hip did. He then sent me to a orthopedic surgeon. This surgeon did x-rays and sent me to have a hip mri arthrogram done. I went back for the results a few weeks later. I was told that I had tares in the cartilage around my hip joint but my socket was very shallow and there was no point in repairing them because it would just happen again. He referred me to another doctor to see if a PAO would be possible. In November of 2018 I went to see this new doctor and found out that I have hip dysplasia in both hip, the right being the worst. He ordered another hip arthrogram mri because the previous one was not the best quality. He called me with the results. My hip had too much osteoarthritis for a PAO to be effective and a total hip replacement would be my best option. So, I started looking for a surgeon. Meanwhile, I am now walking with a cane for short distances and a walker for anything with a larger distance. I was told I need to lose weight in order to qualify for a total hip replacement so I went to a dietitian and lost 37 pounds, which is really hard to do when you cannot exercise. Regardless of the weight loss the pain stayed the same. I have now seen two surgeons about a hip replacement and one told me I was too young and the other told me that there was not enough osteoarthritis to justify doing a THR. He told me I was in like a limbo where my hip is too bad for a PAO and not bad enough for a THR. I cried all the way home, feeling completely hopeless in my current situation. I am still beyond myself at this point and do not know where to turn. I want my life back. I’m not sure what to do at this point besides to continue this fight and refuse to give up. I will continue my new healthier eating habits to continue to lose weight and hopefully find a surgeon who will not let me live in this horrible limbo where 90% of my life is lived in a recliner. I’m too young to feel this old.

My hopes in writing my story is that someone, somewhere will read this and be able to give me some guidance. Whether it is a lead to a good surgeon or just some advise on how to ease the pain while I am stuck in purgatory.

I want to thank everyone who has written their stories because it has helped me not to feel so alone in this fight. I hope mine will help others too who are new to this debilitating condition not feel so alone.

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  1. Rhonda says:

    Hi Leah,

    It sounds like you did have a doctor who told you that he recommended a THR because you had too much arthritis to do a PAO. Would he be willing to perform a THR now that you have lost the weight?

    They are doing THR’s in younger people now because they last longer and surgeons are getting better at doing revisions if they are needed. You might check out Courtney’s story in the Adult section on this site. She is even younger than you and has had excellent results.

    My story is also on this site. I had both my hips replaced when I was 51. I can do everything I once was able to do and I have no pain and cannot even tell I have implants.

    I hope that you find relief!

  2. Natalie Schulze says:

    Hello, this was such an inspiring story and it was very well written. I am creating a blog to share with local hospitals in San Diego to raise awareness for hip dysplasia. The blog is going to be given to new patients that are just diagnosed with hip dysplasia as a way to learn more about the condition and to connect with people who have gone through a similar experience. I would love to share your story on my blog so please email me at natalieschulze03@gmail.com so we can be more in touch.

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