My name is Stephanie and I was diagnosed with Hip dyspepsia at age 25. I did not consider myself an active person when I was younger, unless you count Netflix marathons and long walks to the fridge. But I was healthy. I enjoyed gym class in High school and loved going on random hikes in the mountains in the weekends, nothing extreme of course. I was as normal comes till I found out I was pregnant. As my belly grow so did I because I took full advantage of the whole “eating for two”, but instead of eating for myself and a baby I was more eating for myself plus an Olympic athlete. Shame on me, I know. With everything that was going on with my body and the weight gain, when my left hip started to hurt and I began to waddle it was just because I was pregnant.
Six months after having my first born I was still waddling and having the mild pain in my left hip, I kept thinking to just give it time and it will go away along with everything else my body was doing because of all the hormones changing. After a year I knew I was over weight (more like obese) but that something was just not right so I went in to my doctor. Of course they said what I thought they were going to say, I was overweight plus caring my child everywhere, my hip was going to hurt. So I went on a diet for 6 months, no exercise and lost 40 pounds. I was feeling great and wanted to lose the last ten plus look good so I started to do moderate exercise, starting slow then adding every week. That is when the pain really kicked in.
As I increased my exercise the pain just keep getting worse and running was out of the question. So I visit my doctor again, this time they sent me to PT because I most likely didn’t have enough muscle on my upper legs. I was sent home with some exercises, mostly squats and lunges which just made it much worse. When I went back with that update they finally decide to take an x-ray. The PT thought I had a bone spur on the top of my femur and said I needed to consult an orthopedic. There I was told I did not have a spur but had hip dyspepsia but they had to refer me out to a specialist. I made the appointment not believing I had what I only heard dogs having because of all the misdiagnoses. But surely I did have it and the lovely doctor there did me a grand favor and showed me that it was not only my left but my right as well, I couldn’t walk for a week afterwards without extreme pain. After much discussion and lots of research I came to terms and started the very annoying part of talking with my insurance about financial situations, dealing with my work schedule and of course arranging who was going to help me with my now two-year-old.
Scared because of everything that was involved with this. It was all about timing with my new insurance, time-off from work, and when my wonderful (can’t thank him enough) brother-in law was flying out to be my amazing live-in nanny/help.
Once I had my MRI and CT scan and went in for the last consult before the surgery the surgeon gave me some bad news. He let me know that my situation was not good, in fact the only reason he was going to go for the surgery to correct the hip instead of a hip replacement was because of my age. I have done so much damage to my hips that I needed to have a surgery before the surgery in order to fix the situation. I was given strict instructions to “take it easy” (what in the world does that mean?) but the specialist I was so very lucky to get was booked out for two and half months so I took it upon myself to cut out on all pain meds and if it hurt to just stop moving as my interpretation of “taking it easy”. This is easier said than done with a toddler.
In the time before the surgery, I read as many stories, tips, and information about this type of surgery. Thanks to everyone that had put their story out there I had an idea of what I was getting into and also was fully equipped with a walker, crutches, toilet seat, shower seat and a suction cup handle to hold on to something, a recliner with extra tilted cushion with a side table with all I needing in arms reach, ice packs and heat pads, underwear that I cut on both sides and put Velcro on them so I could take them off and put them on without having to bend, lowered my bed so I could get in and out easier, made and froze food ahead of time, had books & movies and more. I made sure I arranged everything with my insurance company before I was medicated and had back-ups for my back-ups regarding help from friends and family.
When the surgery date finally came, I was so nervous I didn’t sleep the night before. I went on a liquid diet for two days before to make sure I didn’t have to bad of a digestion problem, I have been traumatized by the c-section surgery. But the first surgery wasn’t so bad. I had a scope done and went home the same day. It was almost a good thing because it was a preview of what I was going to have to start doing since I couldn’t put weight on my left leg/hip and couldn’t bend all the way, yet I wasn’t in pain so it was easy to figure some things out. When the PAO happened the following week I had to stay at the hospital for six days.

They did tell me four to five but I had a bit of a complication with a sciatic nerve that didn’t let my left foot move making it hard to get around like I should have but with a third surgery to correct that I started to slowly be able to pick my foot up and go home where I could put clothes on instead of just being in a hospital gown and sleep all I wanted without being woken up to check me. I did miss the room service for food. Once home I was very tired all the time so I napped most of the day and night. Didn’t get quality sleep since I always have to use the bathroom or just move to keep conformable. It was a lot of doing nothing but healing and when I did move around it was draining. Dresses were my best friend since putting on socks or pants required a second person and it was a lot faster to use the bathroom which (because of all the inflammation) was always hard to hold in for evens seconds.
Returning to work was overwhelming at first since it was then when I realized how slow I have become but with PT and just taking it easy, it all went fast. Once I was able to really start walking on my own the crutches were more annoying because in my mind I didn’t need them but the limp I would do after a minute of walking without them reminded me that the PT knew best and I should just listen to their instructions.
I was upset at first when I found out they couldn’t do both hips at the same time but it made sense why it’s not possible. The left hip felt so great that I was ready to go ahead 5 months later and do the right hip. I already had everything and knew what it was going to be like, however, I think the knowledge of the time it was going to take to heal was overwhelming. With the first surgery, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything to hurt myself. The second time, I had different fears/problems.


I couldn’t believe I was even more nervous for the second surgery. It wasn’t going to be any different expect for two things, the good part was that I now had a fully healed, working lift hip to ‘lean’ on. The bad part was it was winter time so falling was a lot more possible. The surgery went perfect, this time there was no complications and since I hated all the pain killers including the drip they had me on I ask to be taken off of all of it the day after surgery expect for the anti-inflammatory and aspirin, so I only stayed in the hospital for the PAO for three days then was off. I was feeling much better and not as scared to move around since I knew what I was allowed to do without hurting myself. This led me to grow impatient very quickly. It took me almost having a fall on ice in the back yard for me to realize that I need to slow down and take it easy. It felt like forever the second time around since I just wanted to “hurry up” and go to PT and start enjoying a now fixed body. It was so frustrating and I would get so emotional and didn’t understand why but it turned out that I was going through some depression and anxiety because of all the surgeries I had, my body was throwing some weird hormones around. With that knowledge I was able to talk myself through it and ask for help when needed. It was very hard to ask for even more help then I was already physically asking for. I reminded myself this was all for now, not forever. PT was a lot harder on me the second around since I they were not worried about my other side. I did exactly what they told me to do, nothing more – nothing less. This time around I kept track of my mini goals from being able to hold my leg at 90 degrees for more than five seconds, putting on socks, to not worrying about falling. It helped me see how much I was improving since I was so impatient. I took it one week at a time and to tell the truth I was in much better shape than I ever was doing everything PT was telling me to do.

Now all I have left to do is to go back to take the screws out because they do bother me but not badly and just make sure to keep flexible and active which I fully intend to.


What I would say really helped me was making sure I had everything I needed before the surgeries like all the equipment (walker, crutches, toilet komod, Velcro underwear, etc), arranging everything with insurance, making sure I had the help I needed from friends and family, sticking to a healthy diet and drinking tons of water that allowed me to heal quickly, and most important was listening to my doctor/surgeon and PT instead of doing what I thought I could/should do.

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  1. Vicki says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am doing research for my daughter, and I found your story so interesting, because it is similar to hers. She is 25, has a two year old son, and has just been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. I am very interested to find out if you are still happy to have done the surgery. I have been reading pros and cons about it, and I am literally scared to death. She is covered under our insurance only until March of 2018. She started having a lot of hip pain after her son’s birth, which was a c-section (I wonder if the hip dysplasia contributed to her extreme pain), but had complained of hip pain off and on for a while. She has seen one doctor, who told us about the PAO surgery, but he even suggested we get a second opinion. He has done very few of these surgeries, and is two hours away from where we live in Norfolk, Virginia. Although I liked him, from all I’ve read, this is a complicated surgery and very individualized, so I would like to find a doctor who is very experienced. Were you pleased with your doctor, and had he done many of these surgeries? Did you go to one of the big clinics that specialize in this type of surgery? My daughter has had an MRI of her right hip (although favoring that one has made the left hip hurt worse), and has a labral tear on that side. I am just so worried, and so upset that this was never diagnosed, even though she had been to the doctor loads of times over the years with hip complaints! I hope you are doing well, and any insight, referrals, whatever that you could offer us are very much appreciated!

  2. Julie says:

    Thank you for your informative post! I am counting down to my own osteotomy (right hip) scheduled on September 18. Your recommendations (dresses!!) for the immediate post-op period were so helpful! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Michelle says:

    I wished I could contact the above named young woman named Stephanie. Our daughter is only 18 and may have to have the same type of surgery. It would be a true blessing to get her some encouragement from such a brave young lady. :) I pray Stephanie is doing well. Michelle

  4. Stephanie E says:

    If I can help in any way feel free to contact me. My email is

    Update: I got my screws removed and I am feeling amazing. I didn’t know what normal was until I walked around all day at an amusement park with my daughter and I was able to carry her home without thinking about my hips.

  5. Amber says:


    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’ve read this at least 4 or 5 times to help me get ready. I’m about to have my first PAO next week. I’m wondering, how difficult was it to cope with the pain on your second surgery when you decided to go off the painkillers. Was it manageable??

    Thanks for your help!


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