Kelli’s Story

Just Another Hippie    

I learned I had developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) after a motor vehicle accident in February 2020.

Being active all my life, I had subtle clues of hip pathology as a teen and young adult (i.e., unable to perform an adequate split in dance). I learned how to swim at age 39 and entered into triathlon races. Again, the subtle nuances of DDH appeared in a “Trendelenburg gait” (abnormal walking/running pattern to off-load stress from the hip) during off-the-bike runs. I did not feel like I had any real “pain.”

The motor vehicle accident sheared my pubic symphysis towards the back which caused sharp pain on the bike. I went to an orthopedic surgeon who told me I had a hip pathology.  He ordered physical therapy and an injection. I was released back to sport in November 2020. I was enjoying an open water swim in Florida when a painful pop occurred in my RIGHT hip.  I had a RIGHT hip arthroscopic surgery in April 2021. My hip felt amazing until the three-week post op follow-up appointment. “My right hip feels good, but what did you do to my LEFT hip??” I exclaimed. He just smiled, “Kelli, we have been waiting for your LEFT hip. You need to see a PAO (periacetabular osteotomy) specialist”.

I was in denial and pursued numerous consults who all gave me the same diagnosis of DDH. As a physiotherapist assistant (PTA), I have treated numerous patients with hip conditions, including DDH. And even some after PAO surgery. This became a unique position to be in, as a medical provider, since I fully understood the process that I was about to endure!

In October 2021 I had an arthroscopic surgery and PAO on the LEFT hip. Life was good and I returned to sprint triathlon training. After my first race, I decided to have the hardware removed (July 2022).

 My recovery turned a different corner at three weeks post op (AGAIN).  I lifted my RIGHT leg from an ottoman, and experienced yet another “pop”! My RIGHT labrum tore again. This time, I chose the PAO without labrum repair in January 2023. I returned to sports rehab in July 2023. On a final note, I was diagnosed at 46 years young.

My mission is to:

  1. Educate healthcare providers regarding quality PAO rehabilitation. @exrxthebridge
  2. Help others understand the PAO diagnosis.
  3. Raise awareness regarding hip dysplasia, one hippie at a time @hippiesclubbr

Five hip surgeries (in two years) later, I finished a Tough Mudder 15K in the United Kingdom September 9, 2023. 

Holistically Yours,

Just Another Hippie   

Kelli Kirkland, PTA, CPT, CI, MS

Thank you for enjoying the hip dysplasia stories. The stories shared by our community members are intended for information and entertainment only. We are incredibly grateful to our hip dysplasia community members who have taken the time to share their experiences and journeys through hip dysplasia. These stories reflect individual experiences and journeys. Nothing in these stories is intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are familiar with your individual medical needs. Miles4Hips does not endorse specific healthcare providers or institutions, and information or opinions shared in these stories does not necessarily reflect those of Miles4Hips or the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.