I am a 20 year old female and was diagnosed with hip dysplasia almost two years ago. I have been active my whole life and am fortunate enough to play a high impact sport in college. Three days into my freshman year I was on a run and felt a painful pop in my right hip. I finished up the run but the pain got significantly worse as the day progressed.

I saw an athletic trainer who told me that I had injured my hip flexor and I had to sit out of sports for a while. When the pain didn’t get better and spread to my left hip, I had to get an MRI, which showed that surprisingly enough I had several tears and stretches on both hips. I went to a hip specialist so that he could tell me when I would be able to play again. I had no such luck. He told me that I was going to have to get a bilateral PAO sooner than later. The surgery was scheduled for late December and I got the right one done right after I finished up my classes.

I was on crutches for 2 months, then I got the left side done. I worked hard through the physical therapy with the goal in mind of playing again and 6 months after the left PAO I was. There was a lot of pain in the first few months and my hip kept on getting stuck, but I worked my way through it and played the entire season. The whole time however, I was in a significant amount of pain and my hip would catch randomly. I was also horribly out of shape. I would get pain in my lower back and shooting down my legs past my knees to about mid calf.

After the season was over, I decided that I was going to go all out and get my athleticism back or die trying. I worked my butt off all summer to increase my speed and endurance. I strained my right quad at the beginning and my right hamstring near the end. I would feel twinges all the time regardless of how well I stretched and warmed up. I still had the hip pain when I would run long distance, many sprints, or play and the back pain got worse and worse. I haven’t felt the shooting pain down to my outer calf as much though.

The only issue was that my endurance didn’t improve and my legs would give out just as easily as before. My speed didn’t improve, and the pain was just about the same as it was at the end of the season. Now I’m facing another season with no improvement to show from my hard work and a lot of pain to look forward to. Has anyone dealt with some similar issues, or had any problems returning to their sport after the operation? I really need to put this behind me and continue on with my life. It kills me knowing that I put my heart and soul into something and it just didn’t help at all. Does anyone have any advice for effective exercises to get back to the level I was before? Is this normal pain? Why is my muscle endurance not improving?

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  1. Tara says:

    HI Andrea,

    I am a 17 year old female, I used to play intense soccer. When I was 14 I tored my labrum in my hip, had it fixed, ready to finally play on the high school team because I was forced to sit out my freshman year. PLayed my sophomore year, and the hip pain returned, but a new pain. Finally, just this last year, I saw several specialists and they diagnosed dysplasia. I have had to quit soccer, now in the beginning of my senior year, i was only able to play 1 our of 4 years of my sport. I am scheduled for my PAO in late December, and I am worried. I know I need the surgery, as I have been doing PT since May now and nothing has changed. I am in a lot of pain all of the time, but reading your story, it makes me nervous that it won’t work. I am not aiming to get back to a sport but rather aiming to walk around without any pain. Do you have any advice? Or more insight on the issues you’re facing now?


  2. Andrea says:

    When I’m just walking around the pain isn’t so bad, and that’s even with all of the high impact play. I don’t mean to deter anyone from getting this surgery. It helped me an incredible amount. The pain I’m experiencing now is negligible compared to what it felt like before. I found out that I re-tore my labrum in my right hip which is causing the catching sensation and probably alot of the pain. I jumped back into sports full throttle as soon as I could which was probably not the smartest idea, so don’t take my story as normal because I was pushing alot of limits with my rehab. As far as advice, just know that it’ll be worth it in the long run and remember that throughout the rehab process. Take it slow and do exactly as your doctor says. You’ll do great :)
    I’m so sorry about the impact this has had on your athletic career. I can definitely sympathize.

  3. Maddie says:

    January 2013 I was diagnosed with a torn labrum, Femoral Acetabular Impingement, and Arthritis in my left hip. I am only 16 years old and even after the labral repair I dont feel as though the pain has gotten much better. My family had to move from North Carolina to Texas this summer so I was forced to go to a new orthopedist. I actually met with this new doctor last week and he suggested that I may have hip dysplasia in my left hip after looking at my x-rays recently taken. The pain feels deep and intense and it does tend to give me a “catching” sensation. I play intense softball and have always dreamed of pitching at the collegiate level. I have an appointment to get an MRI arthrogram next week. Any suggestions of what this pain could be? I guess Im just being indenial after researching what the hip dysplasia surgery requires. Praying that the dysplasia is not what I have.

  4. Andrea says:

    The doctor I’ve talked with says that a catching sensation usually is associated with a tight iliopsoas tendon across the front of the socket or some problem inside the socket like a labral tear or piece of cartilage stuck inside the joint. Some of the pain you’re feeling could be due to the arthritis depending on the extent to which you have it. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but that’s what I’ve gathered about the catching sensation. I’m getting a labral repair to hopefully fix my issue. If you do have dysplasia, fixing the root of your catching problem will more than likely be a temporary fix meaning the hip deformity will return in time because its cause was never taken care of. Again, this will depend on the extent of your dysplasia, if you have it, and you shouldn’t take this as truth, it is just an semi-educated opinion. Anyways, I hope that helps some and I hope your issue is resolved soon! Good luck!
    Also, if you do have dysplasia, that doesn’t mean you can’t play sports. Just think of it as a hurdle, not a wall.

  5. Anne says:

    I’m a 26 year old competitive figure skater. I started having pain and stiffness in my left hip, buttock and hamstring at the end of July 2013. I trained through it until Thanksgiving when the pain became too intense to skate through. I was diagnosed with a labrum tear. I met with one of the top surgeons in the world for labrum repairs in Vail, CO. They diagnosed me with Cam FAI and ischiofemoral impingement as well. After meeting with them, they called that evening to express concern over some severe femoral anteversion (internal rotation of the femur bone). After doing 3D CT scans, they determined that my femurs are turned in at 50 degrees, whereas the normal for a female who is done growing is about 14 degrees. They have said I will need bilateral derotational osteotomies as well as a labrum repair on my left hip. I’m a pediatric nurse, so in addition to the concerns I have about post surgical infections, etc, I’m absolutely terrified that I won’t be able to return to high level of performance on the ice that I’m currently at. We are currently waiting to hear from one of the top specialists in the country located in San Diego.

  6. Andrea says:

    I was recently told that I not only have a labral tear, but also cam and pincer impingement in my right hip among many other issues that I will have to have corrected soon. The guy I’m seeing trained with a surgeon in Colorado (maybe your guy) and believes that there is a high probability that I will be able to return to my former level of activity once the corrections are made. I’ve gotten alot of my old quickness back over the last few months and am feeling better about my level of play, but it took a long time. This is your best shot at getting back to the ice and not hating every minute of it because of the pain. The journey back takes a very long time and is filled with frustration and pain, but if you truly want to get back to where you were, I believe it can happen.

  7. Debbie says:

    Anne, do you mind sharing your specialist’s name with us? We are willing to travel anywhere but our daughter has been at UCLA Medical Center for 3 weeks with severe hip pain (she has lots of issues, including hip dysphasia).. She’s also a paraplegic. No one at UCLA wants to touch her, and while we are going to pursue PT, acupuncture and therapeutic massage (as well as a host of drugs), we want to find the best surgeon for her if she needs further intervention. Would appreciate any referrals. Thanks.

  8. Susie says:

    We too would like the referral you have in Vail, CO. We live here and have been warned away from the famed Steadman Hawkins clinic for the PAO surgery – just not their specialty. Is that what you understand as well? Our daughter is a 27 year old dressage horse trainer. We’re searching several opinions in the Denver area. If anyone has surgeons to recommend, please post here. Thank you very much.

  9. Ellie Townsend says:

    Hello, my name is Ellie Townsend and for my research project at school I am researching ” What is the treatment process of hip dysplasia and how does it affect you mentally and physically ” and I was wondering if any of you could answer some question?
    My email is

    Kind regards

  10. Sarah says:

    Hello, My name is Sarah. I am 32 years old. I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at age 30 years old after many years of limp, pain, and swaying gate. I underwent a PAO on my right side which was followed by an attempted left sided PAO, which was aborted due to severe arthritis. 6 months later the right side was replaced and the left side 5 months later. Now one year out, I am able to jog, walk, and carry on life without pain. Although my left hip still occasionally lock up but am so much better off with the replacements. Would be happy to talk to anyone about dysplasia

  11. beth says:

    Hi there ladies I am 20 year old I have been having some server pain in my left hip for some time I have to cling tightly on to my babyies push chair as the pain when I am walking is bad even when I relax I get a lot of shooting pains going down my leg from my hip…. I went to the docs had an x Ray and he told me my hip isn’t getting enough support as it should be he told me it was hip dysplasia and he sed I will be more than likely going to need surgery I just want to no what do they do and also how long does it take how long till I am back on my feet as I have got 2 kids any help would be nice please

    Thanks beth

  12. Lydia says:

    @Susie, I am also a dressage rider like your daughter. I am having a surprise PAO surgery this coming Friday at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. My surgeons are with the Center of Adolescent and Young Adult Hip Disorders at Washington University Med School/Barnes. Dr Clohisy and Dr Pascual perform the PAO together and operate separately on several other disorders like a torn labrum. They are the national leaders in researching the PAO procedure and advancing the technology and care for it. Highly recommend, pre-surgery thus far. As far as being a dressage trainer, what has been her experience with recovery and getting back into riding? Riding is my everything and it’s very hard for me to step away from training and working for so long.

  13. Becky says:

    Hi Andrea.
    I know how much is sucks having to take time out of training etc. I have had bilateral hip dysplasia since birth and until recently swam and ran competitively. I had to stop to have my 3rd bilateral femoral ostotomy and struggled to build my stamina up after nearly a year recovery. I manage to train again for 3 years but struggled to get up to the standard I used to train at as the pain increased I’m now 20 and haven’t been able to train for 3 years as it was causing laberal tears in my hips and my dysplasia is so sever there is nothing they can do to fix them except replacement. So at the age of 20/21 I am having total hip replacement. I was gutted that I couldn’t continue with my sport but without those surgeries I wouldn’t be walking. I hope this isn’t the case with you and you continue to improve.
    Becky. UK

  14. Anne says:

    I’m a 56 year old who was diagnosed at 13 with a left congenital dislocated hip. At 2 was diagnosed and body cast which worked until I starting growing. I was never a dedicated athlete just and average kid who played various recreational sports all year. Usually the dislocations would happen with more of an impact ie. gymnastic vault and dislocation in landing or the same on final ending in waterski fall into water. The technique done then to repair was from the Salter Osteotomy using bone graft from my left thigh and a Thornton Nail and plate left in leg to stabilize. I had a body cast for 8 weeks ( bedridden)crutches for six months and no physiotherapy ( as that wasn’t done back then). Again never a pro athlete but I went on with no pain I might add to have perfect range of motion of my hip and had a slight limb if I was tired, the more fit the less one would even see the limp. I had 3 babies and normal delivery.

    Now at 56 I will have to have a left hip replacement . After a few injuries I went in to tearing 2 hip flexors and had been in excruciating pain with my hip on fire as well. After a six month wait to get an MRI done it revealed the left hip complete blown. I was a bit shocked to hear i would need it need repair as up to this point I’d been pain free.

    So this initial surgery has lasted me 43 years.

    I finally saw my orthopaedic Surgeon yesterday who I thought was amazing as he literally New the names of my old surgeons as one was the pioneer of the technique used. He explained what happened to me as a teenager and how it is common to see patients with DDH require hip replacements.

    My surgery will be summer 2018. This will last me another 25 years before replacement. A somewhat normal feeling by 3 months and will take a full year for total recovery .

    Good luck everyone

  15. Andrew Slominski says:

    My name is Andrew Slominski and i go to Lakeridge High School and i was assigned a Hip Dysplasia project. I would like to ask you a few more questions on your condition. You can contact me through email at or over the phone at (262)-365-1029. Thank you!

  16. Suzanne says:

    I’m a 44 yr old female and was told today that I’ve right hip dysplasia after an X-ray and symptoms for 1 yr only. How is this possible given that I was able to complete for 10 years as an international pro athlete soccer player and never had hip issues or pain? I’ did have 3 meniscus surgeries which ended my career. 15 years and 5 Kids later, had a total knee replacement. Thrilled to be knee pain free- that I can be active with my family & coach again. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere I have dysplasia? Should I get a second opinion? However I could see the x-ray for my self. I really don’t want joint replacement again if at all possible. Any thoughts or suggestions I would appreciate.

  17. Autumn says:

    Hi Andrea,
    My name is Autumn, I am 18, and was recently diagnosed with hip dysplaysia. My whole life I have been an athlete, non-stop. I played sports even in the summer, there was never a day where I was not jumping or running down a court. I play volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Throughout my career, there would be some moments where my hip would pop or a sharp pain would travel through my hip, it would come and go. I have always walked a little funny, and I thought on days that I limped, it was just a normal thing after putting all I had on the court. Now, I am a senior in high school, and was ready to start up basketball again. Unfortunately, about 2 weeks into my season, my hip had non stop pain, and my once in a while limp became an everyday thing. I was so confused because I could barely run down the court, and trying to get rebounds was painful. It’s been my dream to play sports in college since I was a little girl, and I was already talking and getting recruited by college coaches about playing and getting scholarships. I met with a hip specialist, and he said I have hip dysplaysia and early arthritis. He said I should not play sports in college. I am scared because my whole life I have been working towards my dream, and now I am stuck, not sure what to do. It’s such an awkward gap between college sports and high school, and because of my hip issues, college coaches won’t want me anymore. Thankfully, I found this site, and I did not feel so confused about hip dysplaysia. I tried. What I am asking is, what should I do? I know there is hip replacements, hip resurfacings, and POAs, cortisoid shots, shaving down femoral heads, Physical therapy, but there is so many options, I have read all these amazing resources! I do not know what the best one is for a college pursuing athlete. I could take a gap year and get a surgery, or even get one this summer before college starts. What is the best option for me? Is it even possible to get somewhat close to my past abilities back and be able to play sports after any treatment? I want to be able to perform without constant pain and be able to go up for a layup or rebound without being scared of the afterward pain. Thank you so much, anything helps :)!

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