Emma’s Story

Emma was my first born and was breech. My doctor recommended a c-section at 39 weeks, when by ultrasound, we could tell she would be a difficult delivery. When her pediatrician paid me a visit later that afternoon, he informed me that both of her hips “clicked” – actually, they were both freely moving out of the socket. He said that an orthopedic surgeon would be visiting me later and that Emma would be fitted for a harness. I was devastated. He informed me that the key to positive results is to diagnose early…luckily they had.

By Friday morning, Emma was wearing her Pavlik Harness. We were told not to remove it at all. I had to wash around it and change her onesie one section at a time. When we went in for an ultrasound at two weeks (her first ultrasound) it was evident that her hips were still clicking and the Pavlik would need to stay on for at least four more weeks.

At six weeks, the orthopedic surgeon could not get either hip to click at all (and he really manipulated her little legs!). He recommended that she wear the harness for four more weeks. Last Tuesday (week 10) her second ultrasound showed no movement (clicking) and that she had “normal” hips. On Thursday, the orthopedic surgeon let us finally take the harness off. We will be visiting him next month (14 weeks) and then following up periodically until she turns one.

The surgeon said that the two most important things about hip dysplasia are: diagnosing early and persistence in wearing the harness (24/7). There is hope!




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  1. Carol Heilner says:

    I am so thankful for you that the Pavlik harness worked for Emma. My granddaughter, Paige, also wore one from the time she was 3 days old. It did not help her. Yesterday she had a closed reduction, put in a Spica cast, and had it removed the same day because the hips were not properly placed. She must now wait until she is 6 months old for an open reduction. This is a very frustrating disability. I know that one day Paige will walk and run…but in the meantime, we continue to pray for Paige and for Emma.

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