Congenital Hip Malformation

by Reese Donner
(New York, New York)

Unbeknowst to me, I was born with a congenital hip malformation.


One side of my hip had no hip socket. The femoral ball attached itself to the hip bone. I had no problem until 2001 when I had problem bearing weight on my right side. Consequently, I limped badly and eventually couldn't walk very far without a cane and then every step was agony.

I could not lift my right leg, cut my toe nails, put on shoes or clothing. Every article of clothing I had to step into from the floor. I “limped around” for ten years and ended up with right leg about 2.5 inches shorter than the left. My surgeon said "my pelvis shrank,” so I had hip surgery 8 months ago. The hip is just fine. The surgeon is brilliant. Top in this area. I can bend my "bad" leg easily, touch my toes, sit on my heels!!, put on shoes and socks, etc.

What I can't do is put weight on my right side. I walk perfectly with a cane, but limp without a cane. One leg is about 1/2 inch shorter. That is not a problem, but iliopsoas muscle is the culprit causing me intermittent pain, sometimes severe pain into my groin and around to my psoas muscle in the back.

I have had 4 months of physical therapy and I do exercises every day to strengthen my atrophied leg muscles. I walk one mile a day and swim in addition to whirlpool. The damn iliopsoas muscle twitches for days then goes into full pain for no reason I can figure out. Nothing else in my body hurts. No back pain, no leg pain. Only this iliopsoas.

Anyone have experience with hip surgery and prognosis for a healed iliopsoas muscle? The surgeon had to "drill" a hole in my hip to make a hip socket as well as replace a deteriorated femur ball. Can I expect this iliopsoas to heal or is it going to be a "forever problem.” My surgeon hasn't made any direct suggestions re: the iliopsoas muscle when I had my last appointment 12 weeks after surgery except to recommend pool therapy along with exercises. He seems to think it would get better. It has very slowly but it is still a big problem for me 8 months post surgery.

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