Another case of undiagnosed hip dysplasia

by Cara
(Chicago, IL, USA)

Hi all-

I was diagnosed with dysplasia at 38 after a couple of years of weakness and a "weird unstable feeling". The ortho did not mention Peri Acetabular Osteotomy as a possible option, so now arthritis and large subchondral cysts have set in and it's too late for a corrective procedure. I had no pain or issues as a kid, did gymnastics and danced on it for years. How can this be?????

I am resigned to needing a hip replacement, but I'm scared to do it at 41. Won't I need another one in 20 years? Or sooner? What if that one fails? Will I end up in a wheelchair at 70? Will the cysts (which continue to grow in size) affect the outcome of the bone union? Aren't they weakening my entire hip joint?

I have given up step aerobics and will soon give up my 2-inch work heels. I don't have any radiating or aching, numbness or tingling. I can sleep well. But walking gives me grinding pain in my joint with every step. I haven't started taking meds yet because I've read they can damage cartilage further.

I am using prolotherapy and PRP, though, started in December. Haven't noticed much improvement yet after 2 treatments. Is there anything I can do to relieve my pain and put this off? What about correcting my posterior pelvic tilt? I know it won't correct the structural deformity, but will it help the pain, maybe?

So heartbroken about this. Feel like I've lost my youth. I've started doing the exercises on this site. Is there anything else that I can do? Grateful for any advice.

All Best,

Hello Cara,
Missed diagnoses are always distressing, so we share your distress; having said that, the past is set in concrete, and it's best to focus on the future. I know it's easier said than done, but crying over spilled milk has no merit.

Yes, you are right, a second and even third surgery is a distinct possibility.

First, an important point; this is hereditary. Your children may be lucky and have inherited your husband's hips, but maybe not. If there is ANY sign of that instability that you felt, any "growing pains" in the upper leg and groin (often referring to the knee) then you absolutely must have an xray of their pelvis' done; buttock pain too.

Early diagnosis means that exercises can be started now, and an acceptance that running, gymnastics, vigorous dancing and aerobics are not for them. One of the tragedies is that children with dysplasia are hypermobile, making them able to excel in these sports; but you don't want them where you are ten years' time.

Secondly, have your leg length assessed. Dysplasia, PLUS a short leg, is a disaster. A simple, inexpensive insert inside the shoe is usually adequate, but you'll need professional advice on whether it should be the whole shoe, or just the heel, and how thick. This applies to your children too. A leg length inequality leads to a higher incidence of hip arthritis.

Thirdly, if you are significantly overweight, get it off. It's vital. Double the fruit and salad in your diet, and cut out the crap. See our Modified Banting diet.

Fourthly, start swimming and cycling regularly. They can be boring, but important; think of it like brushing your teeth.

Next, start making a chicken bones bouillon regularly; use the search function in the nav bar on your left. Extract the cartilage and use it to make a soup. Every week for the rest of your life; it's delicious in any case. Get a stainless steel pressure cooker if you don't have one.

Take omega 3 oil for life; better still eat fatty fish every week.

Fifthly, start looking for a chiropractor who is interested in, and specialises in hips; you may battle. Don't accept a blase, yes of course I treat hips.

Could you send me a copy of your xray to brlewisatmwebdotcodotsa please.

Be strong, Cara; you can cope with this below the belt blow.

Dr B

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Apr 07, 2015
How should my chiro contact you?
by: Cara

Thanks Dr. B-

What's the best way for my DC to get in touch with you? Do you have a direct email that you give to docs only?

I'll send you my films as soon as I get them back from the surgeon who reviewed them. Cheers!


Hello Cara,
Yes, of course, but I'd rather not publish it here! Via the Contact at chiropractic Help is best initially, and then I can relay him my personal email.

Could you please make a summary of all this, and send it all to Contact? It makes things easier when I'm chatting to him.

Skype is not a bad option either.

Looking forward to seeing the Xrays.

Dr B

Mar 22, 2015
Fighting through with hip dysplasia
by: Cara

Thanks for writing back, Dr. B.

I never wanted kids bad enough to have them, and this pretty much solidifies it (the relaxin would do my already bad hips in). I'm glad I don't have to worry about passing this condition on to someone else.

What can a chiro do besides assess leg length? There's a really great chiro in my area who is willing to learn with me, so I can relay to him or put him in touch with you. What should I tell him to do?

Thanks for the encouragement. It's going to be a journey. I've already decided a hip replacement under 50 is out of the question, so it's up to me to make that happen. Cheers.

Hello Cara,
There's plenty that can be done provided you accept up front that a cure is not what's on offer. I find that working with the hip itself, the soft tissues around the joint, the sacroiliac and leg length that something like 30 to 60 percent relief can be obtained.

After the initial treatment period, a monthly visit is on the cards. If you're prepared to accept those terms then it often means delaying the hip replacement for years.

First hip replacements are quite successful in the main, but second and third are difficult. I'm right now treating someone who is where you have been; he's seventy and going for his third replacement. The cup has come loose.

Do whatever you can to delay the hip replacement to 60 odd. If a monthly visit to the chiropractor can achieve that, you can be well pleased.

By all means suggest he contract me; some doctors are more than happy to help from others. Others know it all, so what's the point?

Send me a copy of the xray; it would be good to see.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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