Carter-Marie’s Story

From the day I was born in March 2004, I have always had issues with my hips. I was born with my hips completely out of joint. My mom was born with hip dysplasia, which was passed down to my sister and me. 

When I was born my legs were in a pretzel position from my hips being out of place. Two days after I was born, I saw an orthopedist. He recommended a harness. I wore the harness for 16 days before I saw him again. Then a week later, I was in the hospital having an adductor release. This is when I was diagnosed with arthrogryposis. My hips, knees and ankles were extremely tight. 

In September of 2004, I had an open reduction surgery to return my hips to their socket. This resulted in a spica cast that was worn for 4 months from the waist to my ankles.

I took my first steps when I was 17 months old, whereas the average age children take their first steps is around 9 months.

I began PT when I was 8 years old. I always had physical challenges such as running and climbing stairs. I was always self conscious of how slow I was running and walking up stairs. I remember in elementary school, I envied my peers who could run up the stairs. Part of the problem with PT is my strength will only go to a certain point, then it plateaus.  I was always the slowest. Now I am in high school, and I use the elevator.

Summer of 2014, the summer before fifth grade, I had epiphysiodesis. This is an orthopedic surgery to alter or stop the bone growth through drilling out the growth plate. In my case, this growth plate was in my femur. I thought it was normal to stand with your leg bent, but I was wrong. My right leg was 1.5 inches longer than the left. I wore a leg brace for about a month. I continued physical therapy and began seeing a chiropractor. 

Middle school went by and I was still having challenges. 2018 rolled around, I was stretching my hip flexors when I noticed my hip was getting stuck and would not move. Soon after, I went to an orthopedist who specializes in hip arthroscopy and repairing labral tears. I had multiple x-rays done as well as an MRI. In March of 2018, I was diagnosed with “Hip Impingement Syndrome.” Three months following the diagnosis, I was undergoing surgery to repair my labrum and cartilage in my left hip. After surgery we found out there was more damage done than originally thought. Due to just walking, there was a large labral tear along with bone being worn away. 

I spent the night in the hospital after surgery and as soon as I was up moving I could instantly feel a difference in how my hip felt. I then went to PT twice a week, then gradually decreased how often I went. I had to learn how to walk again. I started using a walker, then two forearm crutches, to one crutch, to nothing. I was only allowed to put 25% weight on my leg for weeks. I was in the CPM (Continuous Passive Motion Machine) for 6 hours a day. My left leg has always been my strongest so I had to begin to use the right one. This was extremely hard.

In December 2018, I had the right hip repaired. This leg was an easier recovery since less damage was done. I went through the same things as with the left leg. 

I continue to do PT at home and began Postural Restoration Therapy. I am now a rising junior in high school and will struggle with strength challenges for the rest of my life as well as pain I cannot explain. This journey has not been easy, but I am very fortunate to live in North Carolina with amazing orthopedists so close.