Three Generations – Janelle’s Story
“Now is the time, I can’t live like this any longer.” That’s what I told my doctor ten years ago when I was in enough pain to consider hip replacement surgery at the age of 25. I remember thinking I was at an age I should have been able to do anything I wanted, but my body met me with stabbing pains and severe limitations. Thankfully, surgery was not my only option and after extensive physiotherapy I gained the strength and, more importantly, the knowledge to battle my hip dysplasia. I know the pain will come back, and there are days I want to cry as it hurts to get out of bed, but there are many more great days that I can run, jump and play with my family.
I was born with hip dysplasia, as was my father, as is my son. Over three generations it has been amazing to hear and watch how research has changed the way we manage this condition. For my dad, casting was the primary option, to a plastic brace with metal bars for myself, to rhino braces and Pavlik harnesses for my son to allow for dynamic movement as a medical method. These improvements not only impact the way the patient recovers, but how the family understands and engages in the process of healing and managing life with hip dysplasia.
My dad, Ron, was born in the 1950’s and as a child he had to have his legs and hips fully casted for almost a year, being re-cast every couple months. After living in pain and not being able to walk without pain killers, he final opted for a hip replacement in 2019. He is now able to exercise, enjoys golfing again, and is able to keep up with his grandkids.
My hip dysplasia was caught early and I went into a hip brace at 5 ½ months old. This stayed on for 7 months with daily exercises and stretching, after which I was considered good. At 12 years old I dislocated my hip playing soccer and started the first of many rounds of physiotherapy. While the treatments helped, every time I ran or tripped my hip would click or slip and I would be in pain again. My muscles were not working right, my ligaments had been stretched, and it felt that no amount of strength training would hold my hip in place. I finally went to my doctor and got an MRI which confirmed my hip dysplasia. They told me it was inevitable that I would need a new hip eventually, but they wanted to try a different type of physio first. This therapy re-taught me how to walk and re-trained and strengthened all the muscles surrounding my hips so that I could live with these bones a bit longer. That was 10 years ago and my hips have never been this strong and resilient to the abuse I put my body through (2 pregnancies, trail running, golfing, mountain biking).
My son, Bennett, was born in December 2020 and in March 2021 we found out he has DDH with a dislocated left hip. He was placed in a Pavlik harness a couple weeks later and after a month it was determined that it wasn’t helping. On September 13, 2021 he will go for closed (potentially open) reduction surgery then be placed in a spica cast for 12 weeks. While I know the next few months will be especially hard, his happy and calm disposition will get him through this into what I hope is a hip healthy life that won’t include years of physiotherapy and additional surgeries. Let him run wild and (pain) free!
This year’s Day of Movement on October 9, 2021, my family will be out walking our dog around Carburn Park and throwing rocks into the pond. We’d love to have others join us for a casual walk and embrace movement.