As a mom of two daughters with hip dysplasia, Katie Garber wants to raise awareness of the condition. She found out that her first daughter, Lydia, had hip dysplasia after her daughter began walking with a limp. Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) is a problem with the way a baby’s hip joint forms. Usually, the condition starts before the baby is born, although DDH can sometimes occur after birth as the child grows.
Lydia required surgery to put her hip in place. Following the surgery, she wore a cast from her chest down to her ankle on one side and to her knee on the other. After three months, she transitioned to a brace. Lydia’s hip then required a second surgery to reshape her hip at age two and a half. In August 2022, the doctor said the hip looked perfect, like she’d never had surgery.
At 10 weeks, Katie took her second daughter, Josephine, to get an ultrasound because of Lydia’s history. The test revealed that she had DDH as well. Her treatment required only a harness rather than surgery because of the earlier diagnosis.
It has been a challenging path for Katie. She recalled what it was like when Lydia began treatment.
“She had just learned to walk. She was loving it,” she said. “That was really hard for us, and we were excited to have a child that walks and is more mobile and …you just switched right back to a baby that you have to carry around with a very heavy cast on.”
The earlier the condition is treated, the better the chance of a successful outcome. Most infants treated for DDH develop into active, healthy kids and have no further hip problems.
Katie has an annual event in October to raise awareness of DDH. She organizes the event through the national organization Miles4Hips called the Day of Movement.
“I love getting the word out and raising awareness,” said Katie. “I think when a lot of people hear ‘hip dysplasia,’ they think of dogs. A lot of big dogs have hip dysplasia, and that’s the only time I had ever heard of it.”
Click here more information about the Day of Movement.
If someone you know has a child with hip dysplasia, they may need extra support as any new parent who has a child with additional needs. She is grateful to her family and friends who have supported her by providing childcare or just decorating their house in balloons to lift their spirits.
Additional Facts about DDH
The risk of hip dislocation at birth is approximately one in 1,000. Hip dysplasia may be treated with physical therapy, a soft brace, or surgery. Any baby can develop DDH, but some babies are at slightly higher risk:
- First-born children
- Babies in breech position in the third trimester of pregnancy
- If the child has a family member with the condition, such as parent or sibling
- Twins or multiples
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an ultrasound for almost all baby girls who were in the breech, or bottom-first, position. Babies with other risk factors may also benefit from an ultrasound. For prevention in babies who are not born with DDH, make sure a baby’s legs have plenty of wiggle room when swaddling.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia:
- Hips make popping sound or click.
- Legs are not the same length.
- Skin folds on the thighs are asymmetrical.
- Limps when starting to walk.