So if you have read some of my other blog posts you will know that I have a disability. I was born with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) and have had 9 operations on my legs and hips over the years, including a leg lengthening operation.
Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is when the ball and socket do not fit snugly together. According the the charity STEPS about 1 or 2 in every 1,000 babies has a hip problem that requires treatment and there are varying degrees of severity, some will just have immature hips that correct themselves, others will have DDH and require treatment.
I had to undergo a significant amount of treatment and ended up on all kinds of traction and with various plasters and splints within hours of being born as some of the below pics show. (I think I hung in every position possible!)
Unfortunately for me, things weren’t as advanced back then and over the years things didn’t always go according to plan, as a result I still have problems and my mobility in recent years has deteriorated. I don’t let it hinder me much though and as you can see from my blog I have gone on to marry and have a lovely daughter with my caring hubby.
Because of my history though my little girl had to have a scan of her hips a few weeks after she was born to check that she was ok, as there is a genetic link that means DDH can be hereditary and there’s also an increased chance in breech birth‘s (which she was too). It was a very worrying time, especially with all that had happened to me. My friends and family were probably as nervous as we were to know if she had been passed the same problem down the line. (My niece has also just had to be scanned because of the family link too.)
The day came for the scan at the hospital and we were led into a room in the xray department for an ultrasound style scan. The team that greeted us and carried out the scan were fantastic, it took hardly no time at all and thankfully we were told there and then that everything appeared normal. (Thankfully my niece has been given the all clear too.)
I was so pleased that my little girl won’t have to go through any of the things that I did. However I know that had we received different news we would have managed. The medical advancements now are much better and as a result fewer children go on to have further problems, most are corrected very early on.
However I wanted to share my story with you to make people aware of the importance of monitoring things like limb development etc in the early weeks, months and years.
ALL babies’ hips are checked at birth and at 6-8 weeks as part of a national screening programme called the Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE). However the physical examination is not 100% accurate as this only detects hip instability at the time of the examination. This means that some babies might appear to be normal at the tests but develop problems later or that DDH has not been picked up at the initial examination. As formal checks finish after the 6-8 week check, parents or grandparents are often best at noticing signs of a hip problem.
If you notice any of these signs you should contact your health professional as soon as possible to be referred to an orthopaedic specialist for an ultrasound or xray to confirm a diagnosis of DDH:
- Deep unequal creases in the buttocks or thighs
- When changing a nappy one leg does not seem to move outwards as fully as the other or both legs seem restricted
- Your child crawls with one leg dragging
- Inequality in leg length
- A limp if one leg is affected or abnormal ‘waddling’ walk if both hips are affected.
- Do remember that a hip not properly in joint does not hurt in childhood.
The above information was taken from the charity STEPS website. Should you have to have any concerns, have to have further tests for your child, or receive news that they have some form of lower limb problem, then STEPS can be an enormous support. My family and I have had links with them since I was a toddler and still keep up to date with their work now, many years down the line. They offer advice, guidance and support to individuals, families and carers in what can be a confusing time.
As I have been getting to know other parent bloggers and checking out their blogs I have come across a couple of lovely mummy bloggers who are going through similar things at present, Emma from Emma and three and Molly from Mother’s Always Right both have stories to share and their children are gorgeous, courageous, outgoing little people who despite being held back a little with their mobility at this point in time are still living life to the full and enjoying exploring the world around them. I have no doubt that whilst things are hard for them at present and frustrating for all concerned it won’t be long before their little ones are chasing down their playmates and I look forward to reading all about it as their stories hit a very personal note for me.
- Ultrasound can reliably diagnose hip dysplasia at age 6 months (medicalxpress.com)
- Ultrasound can reliably diagnose hip dysplasia at age 6 months (eurekalert.org)
- Hip Dysplasia Can Be Reliably Diagnosed By Ultrasound At 6 Months (medicalnewstoday.com)