Walking with Hip Dysplasia


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It’s a little hard to tell, but below is a video of our 16 1/2 month old daughter walking with hip dysplasia – specifically a dislocated left hip. If you look carefully, you’ll see that instead of her left leg rolling like it’s supposed to, she hikes it up and over. If you’re here because you have a nagging feeling about your own child, the good news is a diagnosis of hip dysplasia is fixable! Our daughter is now almost 9 years old and you can’t really tell she ever when through this. <3

girl in a spica cast

When she first starting walking, I had a nagging feeling in my head about it being bad, but I dismissed that thought because she was such a new walker. After she didn’t get any better, and more people started commenting, I pulled out my handy dandy Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition) and started reading about limping. Frankly, it scared me.

Walking with Hip Dysplasia

I honestly avoid doctors. We only go unless absolutely necessary which isn’t very often. One of my favorite medical books is How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor. But I also trust and rely on my Dr. Sears’ books. When I read that we needed to have her seen right away, we did. And even when the doctor said she wasn’t concerned, we pushed until we were seen by a pediatric orthopedist. I trusted my mom sense and my mom sense said something was wrong.

I have been on pins and needles since her hip dysplasia diagnosis. I’m in and out of tears. I’m sad, mad, terrified of what’s to come. But I have finally come to peace. We’re headed to St. Louis next week for a second opinion appointment, more so to check out one more surgeon before we make our decision than to try to second guess the diagnosis. It is what it is unfortunately, and it’s totally obvious on her xray that her left hip is not in the socket.

Here is the video of her walking with DDH

2019 Update Hip Dysplasia Update

This post kind of leaves you hanging on where we are today – eight years later. We did operate on Sara. She had an open reduction at 17 months at the University of Iowa with Dr. Weinstein. At 3 1/2, she had a double osteotomy also with Dr. Weinstein. When she was 6 years old, she was finally cleared to once every two year check ups. At 8 years old, she’s still looking good. We see her surgeon again in about one year. You can read more about our journey here. Please feel free to email me if you need to vent. I’m here for my fellow DDH parents. <3

What you need to know about hip dysplasia in babies

What to expect on open reduction hip surgery day

Supplies for spica cast post DDH surgery

Preparing for Pemberton and Femoral Osteotomies in the fight against DDH

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Really smart to get second opinions. Doctors aren’t superhuman and it takes awhile (and sometims a small army of people) to figure out what’s wrong, how to treat it, and where to go from there. Didn’t see the importance of it until I’ve seen several friends and family members deal with “mystery diagnoses” or health issues.

  2. Oh my goodness…. I had to replay a few times to actually believe she was say “Daddy did you see me”….. My boys are 18 months and pretty much do not talk… Lots of small words, and nodding or shaking heads… They obviously understand what we are saying to them. How do you keep your older kids from “talking for her”? I really think this is our number one problem. But it’s hard to see them so behind in the speach area… ๐Ÿ™

    1. Cara – that was not her! She doesn’t say many words at all. In fact, I think each of my children has spoken progressively later. My 7 yr old daughter was speaking in complete and proper paragraphs by 2. The rest, not so much. Sara says Ma, Kee (for kitty), uh oh, and whoa. That’s about it, but she obviously understands and I’m convinced she follows simple directions way better than her older siblings did at her age. I personally (with no medical training, mind you) would probably not be too concerned about delayed speech – especially in boys – AND especially twins – notorious for developing their own language. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Hahaha!!! I just watched it again and it STILL seems like she is saying it!! (As long as you aren’t watchiong her lips too much) The boys definately understand and follow commands, when they feel like it of course… ๐Ÿ™‚ Ava (the only girl) was our only early talker, and she hasn’t quit since… I guess I should just be counting my blessings! I really don’t have that “feeling” about it being a problem. Sometimes those “supermoms” with college graduate 3 year olds can make you question your kids… I really appreciate you posting this video. Both boys were breech and had to be delivered Emergency C-Section (I was 8 CM dialated and wasn’t feeling the contractions when I went in for my checkup) We missed their hip ultrasounds while moving to Texas, and I have always felt bad thingking “gosh, what if something is wrong and we missed our chance to find it”. Thankfully both boys have been up and running as soon as they could. I could definatly see the difference in how your little girl walks. While I know it is hard for you, I also think you are helping more than you may know by sharing your experience. I look forward to reading about her recovery. You really do inspire me!! What luck your children have to be blessed with such a wonderful Mother!!

  3. it really is the same walk –

    I bet if we see another child walk like this we will just go hug the parent


    1. I was in complete denial about that walk. I was even mad when my mother-in-law suggested a problem. But I knew in my heart. I hope never to see the walk on another child. ๐Ÿ™

  4. Hello, I have a 17 month old who started walking one month ago. She walks with a limp and i keep telling myself itโ€™s bc sheโ€™s a โ€œnewโ€ walker, yet here I am, searching for answers. I have the same nagging feeling you did. Unfortunately I cannot see your video. I am seeing a recipe instead. I know this post is old but I am really hoping you can share the old video with me to give me a better perspective. I hope your now almost ten year old is doing great. Xx

    1. I updated the post, Karina. Sara will be 9 years old in a few weeks and she is doing great. I hope your daughter doesn’t have DDH, but if she does, you will all be fine. <3 I'm emailing you too.

  5. I have a 15 month old and I have been noticing the walk for some time. We just had his checkup and the dr made an ortho appt right away for me. I didnโ€™t know what it could be but now the more Iโ€™m researching I think this is the issue. He also seemed to rely on one leg more during crawling. Ortho appt is tmw! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

  6. Hi, would it be possible for me to email you? I have a few questions about DDH. My daughter is 16 months and walks very similar to your daughter but we keep being told by health visitors that this is normal for children who have just learnt to walk, but she has been walking now for more than 1 month and she swings her right leg out a lot and Iโ€™m pretty sure one of her legs is longer than the other (only slightly) but I can see something.
    Thank you.