To be honest, Hip Dysplasia is a fading memory for us. I often feel guilt when I see friends in my timeline whose children went through the same journey we did with late diagnosis (or missed diagnosis) of hips, and they are campaigning for better screening and for more awareness of a little known condition.
It’s not that I don’t passionately believe that more parents should know the risk of Hip Dysplasia and the complications it can bring when it is missed in the usual checks. It is just that I am a busy working mum of three and I don’t seem to have much time to dust off my soap box and shout about the signs of dislocated hips and the dangers of it being picked up later in the child’s life when more invasive surgery is required to fix their little legs.
This weekend, Libby-Sue dislocated her elbow.
She has dislocated her elbow in excess of twelve times in her little life.
Like most kids with DDH, she suffers from extreme hypermobility, and that bendiness at times causes her elbow to simply slip out of joint. On this occasion she was in the lounge, alone, dancing…
She danced till she dislocated.
As she sat on the sofa, all colour draining from her face, my memories became flooded with the times that I watched her come round from anesthetic, how I saw her in agony when she broke her leg.
I remembered that in six years I have seen my daughter bend and break and dislocate almost twice a year.
Christ that sucks.
In this case, rather than endure hours in A&E, I recalled the advice from the doctor last she pulled her elbow out, I refreshed my memory by watching a YouTube video, then nipped downstairs, steeled myself against her cries and popped her elbow back in.
I have a new skill to add my medical CV….
Some days I wish I didn’t know so many quirky medical skills.
This weekend reminded me of the two years that DDH was literally in my face, and my anger re surfaced at the fact that Libby was so late in diagnosis, and that still, new cases of late diagnosis crop up of kids whose dislocated hips are simply missed at the numerous checks they go through in the first year of their lives.
Even parents who have babies who are diagnosed at birth with ‘clicky hips’ aren’t always given the proper information to help strengthen hips after enduring a Palvik harness.
Some families who have gone through the nightmare that Hip Dysplasia is, don’t realise that there is support they are entitled to and even potentially compensation in cases that have occurred due to negligence or been misdiagnosed. Companies like first4seriousinjury can help with advice and support.
For me, and many other Hip parents, we just want to see a consistency in screening for DDH in the UK, rather than the postcode lottery that exists. And we want to see more education about what it is and the options for treatment.
Many parents are unaware that Hip Dysplasia is even a thing. Still, first time parents aren’t given education by their health care visitors or clinics about healthy hips. If more people knew what DDH is and how to help prevent it, then fewer people would have to see their babies, post surgery, like this, before their second birthday. Early diagnosis means less invasive intervention.
Babies are born with unstable hips and protecting those hips in the first six months of life is imperative to ensure healthy hip growth.
- Loose swaddling – allowing the legs to kick freely at night.
- Wearing a baby carrier that allows the legs to extend in a frog like position, rather than letting them dangle loosely pulling on the joints.
- Choose a car seat that allows the hips to be flexed.
They are not huge changes.
They may not prevent your babies hip from dislocating.
But if you had told me six years ago to do those three things, and raise a little more hell when my daughter didn’t develop mobility at any great speed. Perhaps our case may not have been extreme.
Like all DDH parents, I will live with the what if.
This is my soap box piece. It isn’t in my face anymore, but hopefully DDH is gone from our world, but the time we spent together will never be forgotten.