I was born on January 15, 1989. Like all babies, I was checked from head to toe, including for a click in my hips (per my mother) and was deemed free of any issue.

I had a ton of energy when I was young so my mother enrolled me in dance and gymnastics. We quickly found out I was very flexible, and pretty good at these activities. I continued dancing vigorously through high school, college, and became a dance and gymnastics teacher from the time i graduated until Age 30.

What happened at age 30? I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Not developmental hip dysplasia. Congenital. The kind that’s been present since the day I was born….at age 30.

This did answer a lot of questions for me personally. Did my hips always hurt? Yes. But I thought it was normal because is was flexible and pushing my body to its limits daily. Does it explain why all of a sudden at age 26 I suffered a labral tear in my right hip? Yes. But I thought it was just an injury due to the high impact I was placing on my body. Didn’t I know that clicking was a bad sign? Yes. But again, I thought it was just the strain of what I was doing physically.

I should also mention I am an ortho/trauma registered nurse. So not only was I tough on my body while teaching dance/gymnastics, but I was working 12 hour shifts and lifting heavy patients daily. So you can understand why I just thought it was just the usual aches and pains associated with both jobs.

In September of 2018 I married the love of my life and we went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. It was wonderful except that I couldn’t sit without pain. Flying from Pittsburgh, PA to Honolulu, HI is a longgggg way to be uncomfortable. After that trip I decided to get an MD opinion. A diagnosis of hip dysplasia was given to me and I quickly brushed it off as an error and went to get a second opinion. This story continued until I had gotten FIVE opinions. All of which were the same. I had congenital hip dysplasia and would need a periacetabular osteotomy  (“PAO”) to relieve the pain and maintain mobility.

Fast forward to June 20, 2019, the day I had a right PAO at UPMC children’s hospital….at age 30. Talk about awkward! But after endless research, Dr. Michael McClincy, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, was my guy.

Surgery was tough. The first few weeks after, we’re even tougher. But as I sit here and write this just over 4 months post op, I can say I am pain free.

Am I back to normal? No. Do I get sore sometimes? Absolutely. Am I fully confident I will be dancing again one day? Yes.

Hip dysplasia was a tough diagnosis for me. It turned my life upside down. But living pain free is something I had no idea existed. Unfortunately my left hip is in need of a PAO as well, but I’ll be putting that on the back burner for a bit until I am healed up completely. I hope this story can serve as some sort of inspiration for those going through a difficult time, diagnosis or recovery. It’s tough, but we are #PAOwarriors and we can do it!