Patient Stories


I was born in 1977 with bilateral hip dysplasia, worse on my left side than on my right. I was diagnosed at about 2 weeks of age. I spent 5 months as a baby in a spica cast and then 2 years in a brace. My parents were told that as I grow my hips would grow into the correct shape. When I was 8 years old my orthopedic surgeon retired. I did not see an orthopedist again until I was 12 when my mother noticed that I was limping.

The new pediatric orthopedic surgeon was horrified when he saw my x-rays. My left hip was completely deformed and had caused my left leg to be almost an inch shorter than my right leg. My right hip was only slighly misaligned. Based on the severity he did not recommend surgery be done at that time. He advised me to wear a lift in my left shoe and that I would probably need to have my hip replaced by the time I am 40.

Over the next 15 years the pain in my left leg got increasingly worse. By the time I was 26, I could not walk more than a block without severe pain. My entire body was tilted at an angle and I had very limited mobility in my left leg. I sent my x-ray around and was told that there is no corrective surgery for the situation and I would need to have the hip replaced. I found Dr. M, a sugeon who specializes in young adults and in ‘replacements of replacements’, which I will eventually need. I had a total hip replacement and had my left leg lengthened to be the same as my right leg. The surgery was the best thing I ever did. The pain in my leg was completely gone. Once I recovered, I was able to walk and run and bend my leg. I barely limped and even wore high heels, all things I had not done in years.

A year ago, my 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with the same thing – bilateral hip dysplasia. No one had picked it up as a baby since both hips were completetly dislocated. I noticed she was still waddling while she walked, took her to a doctor and got the diagnosis. After much research we ended up by Dr. S in a children’s hospital. In November, he did open reduction and osteotomy on her right hip and then 3 weeks later on her left. She spent 9 weeks in a spica cast and then 4 weeks in an Ilfeld brace. Since then she has been going for PT and is now walking. She still needs to strengthen her legs but it is wonderful to see her walk without waddling and with a straight back.

Over the last few months my right hip has been getting more and more painful. Last week I went back to Dr. M who told me that there is no cartilage left in my joint and I have pretty severe arthritis. This developed from years of a slightly misaligned joint and from years of not walking properly because of my left hip problems. He recommends replacing my right hip. I am only 36 years old and can’t imagine having 2 hip replacements. I do know the wonderful outcome of the surgery but I also know they don’t last forever. I am going to take my x-rays for another opinion and see if there is anything corrective I can do with this hip. Then I will have to come to a decision.

I was so happy to find this site and read the stories of so many adults who have been living with the same kind of pain I have lived with for years.