Hello, I am hoping maybe someone here can help me. I was born with hip dysplasia and at the time it was treated, my mom told me I was in a cast for quite a while after birth and I know that she was told that I may never walk, but I did. When I was about 12 was the first time I remember my hip just giving out on me, it wasn't painful, just gave out like nothing was there. This would happen on and off, with months and sometimes years between episodes, never painful. eventually I started experiencing pain in my hips, went to the doctor, told him my history of hip dysplasia (because my parents were told that it may cause me problems later in life). The doctor told me what I was experiencing was "not in the right area" for hip joint pain and that it had nothing to do with hip dysplasia, and that because it was treated at birth I would never have any problems (the opposite of what my parents were told when I was a baby). Years past and more and more pain, went to the doctor over and over, prescribed several different muscle relaxers that never work, always told my dysplasia was treated and it is not the cause of my hip pain and it never would. I finally stopped going to the doctor, and started to think like maybe this was all in my head.

I am now 35 years old, and the last few years I have had on and off hip pain that has gotten to the point where it impossible to walk or even move without extreme pain (a friend gave me crutches for the days that I can't even move my hips enough to walk or bear weight, I have young children who don't stop just because mommy can't move). I experience it to some degree every day and now another new thing is lately my hips have begun to pop when I move (even just something as simple as rolling over at night or shifting positions when I am sitting can create several pops and cracks, these are more annoying than painful. Every time I have been to the doctor I have been told there is nothing wrong, the last time I went the doctor took a x-ray and said nothing was wrong (yes just one x-ray of one hip). My husband wants me to go back to the doctor again because there are times when I am to the point of crying in pain when I move, I don't want to go and be told nothing is wrong and I do not have insurance and I will have to pay to listen to yet another doctor tell me nothing is wrong (not that we can't afford it, I just don't like wasting money) and I don't want to pay for more medicine that won't work.
So I guess what I am wondering is if anyone else out there had hip dysplasia, that was treated at birth, and still had problems later in life? Does this sound like it is from the hip dysplasia? or is it true that because a person was treated at birth that they will never have problems?
The only other thing that I am worried it may be is rheumatoid arthritis, because my dad has this and his mother also had it, but I have also been told that this would not be the cause of my pain.
thanks for reading,
Michelle
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replied July 26th, 2011
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Michelle,

DDH, developmental dysplasia of the hip, is a spectrum, from very minimally involved acetabulums or a permanently dislocated hip joint. Just because someone was treated when they were young does not preclude problems in the future.

If the DDH was minimal and treated properly, then the likelihood of problems is very small. In these cases, the child is usually followed until skeletal maturity, then only as needed in adulthood. However, if the DDH was caught late or was very severe, then the child may have to have several procedures done in order to produce a functional hip. And as such, will probably have significant problems as an adult.

Most patients fall somewhere in between.

If your DDH was treated appropriately, and at skeletal maturity you had acetabular angles within the normal range, with the femoral head well reduced and concentric within the joint, then you would not be expected to have any significantly higher risk of hip problems than the normal population. However, that does not mean that you cannot develop problems.

Disorders within the true hip joint have pain in the groin. A good idea of where the hip joint is actually located, is to feel the pulse in the inguinal area, the joint is directly below the pulse. If your pain is located somewhere else, it may be that the hip is not the root of your problem.

Also, just because the x-rays are "normal", does not mean there is nothing wrong. Tears of the labrum, a cartilage rim around the acetabulum, will not show up, nor will defects in the articular cartilage.


If your pain continues, you need to be evaluated by a good hip surgeon, one who preferably has experience in treating patients with prior DDH. A good, thorough exam should be able to determine where the pain is coming from. An MRI, or an MRI arthrogram, may need to be done, if the pain is actually coming from the hip and the flat plate x-rays are okay. That usually means it is a cartilage problem and they don't show up on x-rays. But, there are a lot of other sources of pain about the hip region, and as such, they have to be figured out.

Hopefully, you can find a good hip surgeon who listens to you and does a very thorough exam. Good luck.
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replied July 26th, 2011
Thank you for the information. Where you described the pain to be is exactly where my pain is. I talked to my mom and she said one of my hips had no socket and the other only had a shallow socket. and I never had any follow up care or treatment growing up.
I will be going back to the doctor tomorrow morning, my husband made the appointment and is taking me (last night I was walking down the hall and went into such severe pain that I simply slid down the wall and laid on the floor unable to move for about 2 hours, I wouldn't let him take me to the hospital, but I did agree to go to see another doctor). I will talk to the doctor about doing the MRI you mention, maybe by some chance I will finally find the source of this pain.

Thank you again
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replied July 27th, 2011
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Michelle,

What is so great about orthopedics and children, is that heir bones have such great potential for remodeling. You can take someone, like yourself, who is born with underdeveloped acetabulums (hip sockets), put the femoral heads where they are supposed to be, and then, from the pressure of the femoral heads, the body will form a socket to fit the head. You can't do anything like that in adults.

Usually, once the acetabulums are at the proper angle and have good cover of the femoral head, the casting or bracing can be stopped. But, in children who had significant dysplasia, where new sockets had to be formed, it is usual to follow that child until skeletal maturity. Maybe seeing the child every year or so, with a pelvic x-ray to make sure the acetabulums remain adequate. Once skeletal maturity is reached, where the acetabulums are, is where they will stay. So follow up can be switched to 'as needed'.

Since you now have x-rays that are 'normal', whatever that is, probably means that the sockets did remodel to make congruent joints with adequate coverage. But, again, the x-rays are really not the best study for assessment of the cartilage structures.


It is not all that uncommon for DDH patients to have significant cartilage and labrum problems. They also are well known to have capsule problems, which is the tissue that forms the joint cavity and lining. In some cases it is redundant, thus it can get caught in the joint or the joint may be lax because of it. In other cases, it is too tight, which causes other problems such a stiffness, pain, decreased range of motion, etc.

Hopefully, the surgeon will do a thorough exam and will be able to determine where your pain is most likely coming from. An MRI (+/- arthrogram) would be great to look at the soft tissues. A CT scan is best to look at the bony architecture.

Wishing you the best. If possible, could you tell us what they find? It is great information for others who may be in your position.

Good luck.
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replied July 31st, 2011
I did go to the doctor, and once again got a "nothing is wrong with my hips". The doctor did say that the pain I am feeling is from the hip joint, and that clicking in the hip joints is normal as you get older and it does not mean anything is wrong. Ugh, wasted money again!

He did give me some painkillers for when the pain is really bad, but that is it. Unfortunately, I guess I will just live with the pain, hardly being able to walk, and never being able to do anything with my kids the rest of my life.
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replied August 1st, 2011
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mamaderf,

While it is true that some patients do have clicking about the hip, which does not bother them, if a patient presents with painful snapping or clicking, then a source for the pain has to be sought.

The doctor did not even suggest an MRI to check out the status of the cartilage and labrum?

I would seek out good hip surgeon. To just dismiss it as "old age" in a young person is, well, lazy. Be sure that the surgeon you see has experience in treating patients with DDH.

Good luck.
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replied April 26th, 2012
hip dysplasia
I have the exact same symptoms, however what I have isn't called DDH. I have.acubular dysplasia. Where my hip socket isn't deep enough. Mine wasn't at birth. I ran track in high school. When I graduated a tumor was found in my femur. I had A bone biopsy, following that I had unbearable pain. I was then diagnosed with acublar dysplasia. I had a pelvic osteotmy or POA which involves cutting through your pelvis and rotating it, using 6 6 inch screws to screw it back together. It is almost inhumane to think about. I couldn't walk for 6 Weeks. That surgery was in 09 it was uncessful. I was told since I didn't have a hip socket that it caused my Labrum and tendant to rip. That surgery was simple as just stitching my trndant and labrum. That was unsuccsful, I had a surgical dislocation in 2011. which involved dislocating my hip, scrapping the femoral head and inside socket for uneven bone. That went great. However 2 Weeks after surgery I hurt myself. Later we find out one of the screws put through my femur, broke it. I was walking with a cracked femur for 2 months. I've had 2 surgeries repairing my femur because it keeps breaking. In January I had a bone graph and bone to replace the broken part. This past time I was no weight bearing for 3 months. This year alone I've spent 24 Weeks not walking. We thing we may finally have it solved. This had been going on for 3 and a half years. I'm only 22. Ive been walking for10 days now. The clicking and pain all sounds just like Mt car. I have an amazing hip Dr who has learned an awful lot from me. I don't want to scare you and make you think your going to go through this, but I think you should look into POA. I wish I would Have seem this sooner to reply. I really hope by more you've found some relief. But it's been nearly 4 years of this for me.
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