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Penny’s Story

I was surprised to read that in the UK alone, up to 2000 children a year are diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), which describes a range of conditions from mild instability to total dislocation of the hip.

Even more surprised to realise that early detection means DDH can often be corrected by a simple outpatient treatment, but a later missed diagnosis can leave a child requiring hospital stays, operations and potentially a permanent disability.

Penny my daughter was missed. At 2 years of age, after two visits to the GP persuading them I really did think there seemed more of a problem then a “simple toddle waddle” she was referred to hospital to find her hip socket had not developed at all (she simply did not have one) thus the reason a “clicky hip” was not detected she had no socket to click to! Her total hip dislocation and with such a late diagnosis meant Penny had to undergo 3 operations after each needing a body cast from chest to toe.

Every year Steps organises an awareness campaign called ‘Hip Health Awareness Week’.  Professor Adrian Davies,  former director of the NHS Newborn & infant Physical Examination Programme (NIPE) said: “It is unacceptable that children are still being diagnosed late with conditions such as DDH, leading to more severe and traumatic treatment and a higher risk of long term disability. STEPS play a key role in raising awareness amongst parents and healthcare professionals and together we must stop this unnecessary distress”.

Even if the hips appear to be normal, it is important to be aware of signs that there might be a problem. The signs parents should look out for include:

  • One leg looking shorter than the other
  • An extra crease on the inside of the thigh
  • Crawling with one leg dragging or walking with a limp or a waddle

Whilst these signs are not conclusive, they may indicate the need for further investigation.

Penny since her operations is showing great signs of needing no more intensive treatment – but I find it incredible that her operations could have been prevented. I had heard of “clicky hip” but was never made aware of the potential of DDH, despite the facts she was a far more likely candidate for it, given she was a breach baby, a girl and premature. So please raise the awareness, we want all babies checked as early as possible to not to have to endure unnecessary pain.

This is penny now supporting Steps whenever she can!


Anyone wanting further advice or willing to help contact STEPS or phone 01925 750271

Julie, proud mum of Penny