There is so much to say... so much to try to explain about Hip Dysplasia, otherwise known as DDH. (Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip)
It just so happens that JUNE is National Hip Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to tell my friends and family a little bit more about Lucy's condition.
If you want to forward, re-post, share- whatever you want to do to get the word out there, PLEASE DO! If I were to have known what these signs are, and what they mean, we may not be where we are today.
If I would have seen a poster like the ones pictured below.
If someone told me what an extra groin crease could be.
If someone told me to check leg lengths.
Now, some of you may wonder, 'isn't this the doctor's responsibility to know what to look for?' My answer to you is YES. My other comment is this: No comment, because I can't/won't go there today.
We have much more to talk about that is going to help spread awareness...
Let's just say that an astounding number of pediatricians have missed DDH. I know so many people on our group whose child has been walking around with a dislocated hip for YEARS. YES... years! It's a very silent disorder. There isn't much known about it, yet the number of children with DDH is rising.
Most of my info is going to be taken from the IHDI. International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
I want to keep this post simple... I don't want to overwhelm you with too many gory details of what my child has been through. (You can read through this entire blog and learn that.) What I DO want is to tell you a few warning signs, and also a few tips on what NOT to do when you have a baby.
What causes Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is approximately 30 times more likely when there is a family history.
The baby’s womb position can increase pressure on the hips
When you are at your baby's well visits, your pediatrician will check the baby for a 'hip click.' Here is a little more on that:
What is a “hip click”?
Why would a baby with normal hips “click”?
So what does a “hip click” mean?
Your pediatrician will also check for uneven leg lengths and asymmetrical creases.
Lucy had asymmetrical creases since the day she was born!
If your pediatrician notices anything that could be a sign of DDH, you will be sent in for an ultrasound of the baby's hips. The reason an ultrasound is done is because a baby under 6 months old hasn't developed bone yet... They are mostly still cartilage, which is not as easily seen on x-ray.
If the hips are within a normal range for an infant, YAY! All is well.
If not, you will be referred to an Orthopedic Surgeon.
Most likely, if the child is under a few months of age, the ortho will suggest a Pavlick Harness. What the harness does is frog the baby's legs out, which puts the hip in the best position to stimulate correct growth. Usually this harness is worn for 6-12 weeks, full time. This can be very hard to accpet for a new parent. You dream of holding your baby tight. You dream of seeing your baby kick their legs. With the harness, that may be hard to do. BUT... with the harness and early detection, the success rate is ASTOUNDING. Over 90% of infants that were treated with the pavlick harness will have success and not require surgery. I can't stress enough how early detection is KEY. If you know someone who is having a baby... send them this blog. PLEASE!
Another way of treating DDH in younger infants is a brace. Lucy had to wear her brace, but only AFTER a surgery. You can read more about braces here.
The dreaded surgery... Well, actually- the surgery isn't as dreaded as the SPICA CAST is. Trust me. My baby was in a spica cast for 16 weeks. If I ever see another cast again, I just may go insane. It's hot. It's uncomfortable for them. They can't move. It smells. UGH. Everything about it STINKS!
If you have questions about it, e-mail me! I feel like I am a spica cast expert. Unfortunately.
Here are the three types of surgery:
CLOSED REDUCTION (No incision. Manipulation of the hip joint back into place. Child is place in spica cast after for 12 weeks)
OPEN REDUCTION (Incision is made and hip joint is 'cleaned out.' Spica cast is applied. Usually this requires an adductor tenotomy, which is where they lengthen/cut the adductor muscle to allow the hip joint to go back into the socket.)
OSTEOTOMY (Where a bone is cut and reshaped. This is done to either the femur or the pelvis.)
And whaddaya know. Lucy's had ALL THREE!
What can you do to help your baby's hips grow and stay healthy??
- Don't swaddle tight! Allow room for the baby's legs to be able to 'fan out' or frog out to the sides.
Here is a link on hip healthy swaddling
- NO FRONT FACING BABY CARRIERS! Those are considered 'crotch danglers' and don't support the baby's hips AT ALL. I get sick to my stomach when I see a baby hanging there. VERY VERY bad for their hips.
- NO SLINGS. Yah, they may look cute, but they hold the baby's legs straight, just like a tight swaddle.
Here is a link on hip friendly baby car seats and other devices.
I could go on and on and on for days, weeks and months about hips! Unfortunately, we are living it, every single day of our lives... I thank God that this is all we have to deal with right now, and that this is our cross to bear... little sweet Lucy doesn't really understand yet.
Our first line of defense is knowledge. PUSH your pediatrician to refer you for an ultrasound if you feel like something isn't right.
Below are some pictures I have collected to show you a little more about DDH.
I hope this post out there helps, if even just ONE person! I will have done 'my job' if one family doesn't have to go through what we have!
|Notice the right hip (left on picture) doesn't have a socket that covers the femur? That causes the femur to dislocate.|
Lucy's knee heights were WAY off! When our surgeon did this test my jaw dropped!
I check both girl's knee heights EVERY day!
Lucy had an extra groin crease like this since the day she was born
This is what front facing baby carriers do! VERY BAD!
RESOURCES and how you can help:
ONE HIP WORLD fundraising for the IHDI
Consider a tax deductible donation today
HOPE THE HIP HIPPO book for children and website