Lleucu was born in 2007 and everything seemed fine at all her baby checks. However, when she was 4 months old, I noticed a few things that raised my concerns i.e. one leg was longer than the other and she had uneven creases on her thighs. Following x-rays and scans we were informed that she had DDH and that her hip had been fully dislocated since birth.
At 5 months of age she was admitted to Alder Hey for a closed reduction and then spent the next 8 months of her life in a full plaster cast from her waist to ankles. At the time that felt like the worst time of our lives, but the help we had from Alder Hey and Steps charity was incredible and invaluable. What was even more incredible was Lleucu herself. She was the happiest baby and always had a smile on her face, even though she was missing out on all her important milestones.
At just over 1 year old her cast was removed and over the next months our strong and determined girl learned to crawl and walk for the first time and join in all the other things children her own age was doing.
Everything was going well including all her regular checkups at Alder Hey until tragedy struck again. When she was 5 years old, she presented new symptoms including pain in her leg so bad on some days she had to be carried out of bed every morning. After numerous visits to our GP, a &e and back to Alder Hey again she was diagnosed with another hip condition this time Perthes Disease. A condition affecting the hip joint in children.
Things were different this time around as she was much older and was fully aware of the situation she was in. The advice at first was to keep weight off the hip. How do you tell a 5-year-old to stop running and jumping?? Soon she was back in the operating theatre. This time for a femoral osteotomy followed, by another plaster cast for seven weeks. Even though she was missing out on so much our little girls was still smiling and pulled us all through another difficult time. After removing the cast, she had to learn to walk again, spent some time in a wheelchair and was using a walking frame for some months.
That was 7 years ago. Lleucu is now 12 years old and fit and healthy. She loves swimming, hockey, climbing and dancing and is a strong and determined young girl. We’ve been told that some more surgeries are a possibility but we’re taking each day as it comes. My advice is trust your instincts as a parent and if you feel that something isn’t right go and seek help.
We need to help raise awareness about hip health, how to detect potential signs and that early diagnosis is vital.