Kristina Murphy didn’t realize that developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) runs in her family. When she was less than a year old, Kristina was diagnosed with DDH and had to be kept still for three months so her joints could be aligned. Now in her 30s, she’s still feeling the effects of the disorder, like chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis.
After her oldest daughter, Isla, was born in September 2008, Kristina did not give much thought to DDH. But when the doctor doing rounds noticed signs of hip dysplasia in Isla, Kristina took her daughter to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Tim Schrader, M.D., is the medical director of the Hip Program at Children’s and has treated DDH in many infants. After evaluating the newborn, he placed Isla into a Pavlik harness, which keeps the child’s hips in the proper position with straps that extend from the shoulders to the feet. It was a difficult adjustment for both Isla and her parents.
“She became very cranky when she was put into that harness,” Kristina said. “She really didn’t like it. She could only lie on her back. She would wake up every 30 minutes at night.”
Isla was in the harness for eight weeks, even though Kristina said it felt like much longer. Her parents were diligent about keeping her in the harness. She wore it most of the time until Dr. Schrader saw enough progress. That dedication paid off. At 3 and a half -years old, Isla is doing well and showing no signs of DDH.