Growing numbers in late-diagnosed hip dysplasia prompts Healthy Hips Week to raise awareness

ALL SMILES: Ten-month-old Maggie Hayes, diagnosed with developmental dysplasia of the hip, must wear a brace 23 hours a day for her hip growth. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

ALL SMILES: Ten-month-old Maggie Hayes, diagnosed with developmental dysplasia of the hip, must wear a brace 23 hours a day for her hip growth. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

Allicia Hayes hopes her daughter’s first birthday celebration will be a combined out-of-brace party. 

Maggie was diagnosed with development dysplasia of the hip at four months old and must wear a brace 23 hours a day to support the alignment of her joints.

Mrs Hayes said it was a waiting game to know the effect of the condition, which occurs when the ball and socket of the hip do not fit together in a normal position. 

“Each time, there’s progress, and we hope the next time we got to the Royal Children’s Hospital, the brace time will be reduced further,” she said.

“Her treatment time will probably be longer than most for some babies because of the late diagnosis.”

Mrs Hayes said hip dysplasia was often present at birth, but not for Maggie. 

“One of the first things we asked was if there was anything we could have done and the answer was no, because hers was developmental,” she said. 

“They manoeuvred her hip around to see if they could get the joint back into the hip socket and they were able to, which was fantastic.”

Maggie will not face surgery, like many other babies diagnosed at a late stage, but she will have to continue wearing the support as her hip growth is monitored. 

“Nappy changes were tricky as we weren’t allowed to take the brace off,” Mrs Hayes said.

“She doesn’t fit into a regular highchair, so you have to find a highchair that her legs will fit in.

“She’s not fussed by it all, just her usual, happy self.”

Mrs Hayes said Healthy Hips Australia had been a major support.

“That website has been amazing,” she said. 

“All the things you want to ask but feel silly asking, the information’s all there.

“There’s also Facebook support groups.”

Healthy Hips Week will run from Sunday to Friday, April 16 to raise awareness of the condition. 

Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital staff specialist orthopaedic surgeon Bruce Foster said there had been an increase in late-diagnosed hip dysplasia across Australia. 

“One of the feelings have been, that it’s because it’s become popular to swaddle babies,” he said. 

“We are promoting that swaddling is OK, but it must be done in a healthy hip position.”

For more information, go to www.healthyhipsaustralia.org.au.