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Healthy Hip Week

Monday, 1st April, 2019

Karen Harding with daughter Evelyn (16 months) who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia in February this year. PICTURE: Emily McInerney Karen Harding with daughter Evelyn (16 months) who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia in February this year. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

As Healthy Hip Week approaches, Karen Harding is looking to raise more awareness in the city, after her daughter received a late diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is an abnormality of the hip joint where the socket portion does not fully cover the ball portion, resulting in an increased risk for joint dislocation.

In February this year, Karen and her husband noticed that daughter Evelyn was limping when she walked.

“She had all her normal hip checks as a newborn.

“Everything appeared fine, she has crawled since seven months and Evelyn bum-shuffled as well.

“She was late walking, but I wasn’t concerned.

“When she did start walking she had a limp and an odd gait.

“The day-care picked it up also.

“So we went to a physiotherapist, GP and got some X-rays. That was all at the end of February.”

Karen said Evelyn was booked in for surgery at the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s hospital at the start of March.

“They did a closed reduction and popped the bone into the hip as it was completely dislocated.

“They also cut the tendon in her thigh. Everything was fine at first.

“Then they gave Evelyn an MRI later that day; it showed the ball wasn’t completely in the socket.

“Doctors put her in a full cast from her chest to her ankles and told us they would wait and see if there were any changes in two weeks.”

Unfortunately, the surgery and cast hasn’t worked and Evelyn has been booked in for more invasive surgery in May.

Evelyn will wear a Hip spiker for another few months after that and then a hip brace for six months.

“There’s a 50 per cent chance she will still need more surgery at around four years of age,” Karen said.

“Had it been picked up as a baby, Evelyn would most likely have just worn a brace and surgery most likely would not have been required.

“Now it is more invasive treatment.

Karen said while Evelyn had her cast on; she was very frustrated.

“We also had to make modifications to her high chair, car seat and pram because she couldn’t sit in them properly.

“We have a family history of hip dysplasia, my grandmother had it.

“Girls are also more likely to get it than boys.”

Karen said there seems to be a number of late diagnoses in Broken Hill.

“A lot of people haven’t heard about hip dysplasia and it would be good to get the information out there.

“It’s important that parents know what to look for.

“One of the paediatricians in town is eager to change the practices as well.”

Women’s and Children’s Hospital Head of Orthopaedic Surgery in Adelaide, Dr Nicole Williams, said late diagnoses’ were common.

“Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common,” Dr Williams said.

“SA data shows that it is rising, as it is a notifiable condition we have data going back to the 1980s.

“Early in the 1980s and 1990s there were only three to four late diagnoses.

“That has grown to over 13 or 14 late diagnoses.

“Overall the incidents haven’t changed - there are just more late diagnoses.”

Dr Williams said there were different reasons for late diagnoses.

“Studies show that rural patients have a more significant risk.

“It could be in the city there are more doctors on the ground and more babies to test to recognise abnormalities.

“When you live in a rural area, you see a GP during early childhood more so than a paediatrician.”

Dr Williams said signs to look out for include your child walking on tiptoe on one foot, limping and legs not spreading evenly when changing nappies.

“Children won’t be in pain, that doesn’t occur until young adulthood. But if it is missed it can be very damaging and lead to early arthritis.

“If you are concerned please see your GP.”

Dr Williams hoped the message would be spread and awareness around hip dysplasia could be raised.

“Doctors are often surprised when I tell them about the rate of late diagnosis.

“They often feel hip dysplasia can be caught in newborns.”

Healthy Hip Week starts from April 1. For more information on the signs of Hip Dysplasia visit the Healthy Hips Facebook page.

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