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Larry the Cable Guy and Wife Cara: How We Healed Our Son’s Hip Dysplasia

09/29/2010 at 04:00 PM ET
Nathaniel Welch

Dan Whitney has spent most of his life making people laugh as his alter ego, Larry the Cable Guy.

But when the comedian and his wife Cara welcomed their first child, son Wyatt, in August 2006, things took a serious turn.

At just a few days old, Wyatt was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a looseness of the hip joint that can lead to crippling arthritis in children and adults.

Initially, the diagnosis “kept being said as, ‘This is no big deal,’” recalls Cara, who soon grew frustrated with a lack of universal information about the condition.

“When I’d go to ask questions, the doctor just didn’t have the answers,” she adds. “I was like, ‘This is crazy. For something that’s so common, how come nobody has any answers for it?’”

In fact, the condition is the single most common abnormality in newborns, affecting as many as one in every 20 infants. In many cases, the first line of treatment is known as a Pavlik harness, a shoulder-to-toe device that helps hold the hip in the joint.

For the Whitneys, having their newborn son in the harness 23 hours a day took an emotional toll.

“I’d get one hour out of 24 when I got to squeeze him and hold him like a real baby,” notes Cara. “Being my first child, I really wanted that.” Adds Dan: “It really stunk.”

Even worse was when the Whitneys got the news that the harness hadn’t worked, which meant that their son now faced the prospect of months in a full body cast or major surgery. But then came an unorthodox third option: Dr. Chad Price, a pediatric orthopedist and an international authority on hip dysplasia at Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Medical Center, suggested that Wyatt be refitted with the harness again around 8 months old. This time, he wore it for another seven months — and it worked.

Amazed at how well their son had healed, Cara, 34, was determined to make sure Dr. Price’s expertise could reach more patients, parents and doctors. “Cara identified this information gap,” says Dr. Price. “She followed her instincts and asked questions and she’s put the resources behind making a change.”

Through their Git-R-Done Foundation, the Whitneys have given $5 million to start the International Hip Dysplasia Institute at Arnold Palmer Medical Center to help exchange and advance knowledge of the condition.

“[The doctors] basically said, ‘Look, if we can get this institute up and running, this is something that can actually be cured. It can be to the point where no one will ever have to have a hip surgery from hip dysplasia,’” explains Dan. “So that kind of fires you up a little.”

A key initiative of the IHDI is to educate parents and caregivers about “safe swaddling.” Traditional swaddling — in which an infant’s legs are stretched out straight — may be a contributing factor to hip dysplasia, so the group instead recommends swaddling in a way that allows the baby’s hips and legs to move freely.

To better spread the word, Cara is personally sending out individual letters to every pediatrician in the country — more than 50,000 in all. And Dan couldn’t be more proud of his wife’s determination. “From day one, she researched it and wrote letters. When I’d read the letter I’d think, ‘Good grief! My wife wrote that? When did you go to Harvard?’ She’s a go-getter.”

These days, so is Wyatt. Now 4, “he’s all about football, basketball, wrestlin’, bull-ridin’,” says Dan, 47, whose new series Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy debuts on the History Channel early next year.

Although Wyatt will continue to go for yearly X-rays until he is a teen, Dr. Price doesn’t anticipate any future problems. For that, Dan and Cara — who are also parents to 2½-year-old daughter Reagan — feel immensely fortunate and are eager to continue giving back.

“I’ve always felt that if you’ve been blessed, you should try to help as many people as you can,” says Dan. “I just think that’s the right thing to do.”

For more information, please visit HipDysplasia.org

Nathaniel Welch

– Michelle Tauber

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Showing 88 comments

Michelle on

Oh wow – I got teary eyed reading this. What an amazing family!

Melissa Brown on

I had hip Dysplasia when I was born in 1978. I was in the harness like their son, thankfully it worked for me. My cousin who was born in 1982, wasn’t diagnosed until it was too late. She had several surgeries. I fully support their effort in awareness!!! Thank you!

ZaraB on

Good on them for raising awareness of this issue. I was also born with hip dysplasia, and wore a Pavlik harness for three years. I haven’t had any problems whatsoever since, thankfully, and my son was born without the condition.

Carrie on

Every time I read a story about Dan Whitney lately it involves him and his wife donating money and making a difference. What a refreshing change from all of the cheating, arrests, and divorces we read about every day on this site. What a great example of someone successful helping others.

Angela on

My first child, a girl, was born with hip dysplasia… but it was asymptomatic. Thanks to some diligent doctors who only heard hip clicks and saw no apparent abnormalities on a hip x-ray, she was treated quickly. It wasn’t until she had a very thorough ultrasound of her hips that the shallow sockets were discovered. She was in the Pavlik harness for 12 weeks, and the treatment was successful. She is now approaching 8 years old, and couldn’t be a more active little girl.

Hope their foundation does a world of good for helping to get word out about this condition since it is quite common. I only wish I had been informed about this condition during all those prenatal classes- where they talk about any and every thing that could be wrong with your child. Hearing the diagnosis and potential treatment, should the harness not work, was definitely a shock to this new mom… but I’m grateful that we had doctors who took the time to thoroughly investigate why my child’s hips kept clicking.

Missy F. on

I had hip dysplasia when I was born in 75 and the brace worked for me also. I still have hip popping at times and I know when it’s going to rain. I am a nurse and I often tell my hip replacement patients that I am taking notes so I know what I am going to go through later in my life.

Thanks to “Larry” and Cara for spreading the word around about hip dysplasia! Wonderful article!

eRIN on

I live in the Orlando area and this was just in the news here. He just did a golf tournament that raised money for the foundation and he hopes to make it a yearly tradition. Arnold Palmer Hospital is one of the BEST and I know several people who had or the children have had hip displasia. It’s a great cause they are giving to and raising awareness for. He just put his house here (I live 2 towns away) on the market and I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t sell since he said if it didn’t, they’d just keep it.

Jill on

I was also born with Hip Dysplasia in 1979. Thankfully for me the harness worked. This is a great story!

Sue on

I have hip dysplasia which comes from my father who unfortunately didn’t find out about his condition until he was 40. He’s had 3 surgeries and I’m about to have my 2nd (and likely not last) at 28. I wish I was diagnosed when I was born and then it would have been easy to treat :/ I hope other children do not have to go through this pain. Thanks for getting the word out :)

Michelle on

My daughter has had three surgeries for hip dysplasia and we have been fortunate enough to go to Dr. Schoenecker who is a leading world expert in this. I’m glad the family is trying to raise awareness as I remember when she was first diagnosed, I could not find any information but now I am a walking expert on hip dysplasia!

Nikki on

I strongly dislike this guy and his idiot comedy, but I am really pleased that his son has done so well with the treatment! Best of luck to the whole family.

Andrea on

Wonderful story! He’s such an adorable child & reading this article put a smile on my face with emotion as well! Great parents, adorable children!

Abbys mom on

My first and and only daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 4 months. It was a real shock. We changed her doctor because we did not like the the lady and chose a new doctor (a younger one and fresh out of medical school). She noticed right away her fat rolls under her butt were not symmetrical and suggested we get a x-ray. I don’t know why the other older experienced doctor did not notice, anyway…

She ended up in a pavlik harness for 3 months (lots of doctor appts with a orthopedic surgeons) and after that she continued to wear another type of harness for a year (she basically learned to walk in the harness, kind of like a little sumo wrestler). It was taxing on us as parents. At the time it seemed like the end of the world, but looking back on it yes things could have been worse (at the time that did not make me feel better when people said that).

Now, unless you knew my daughter as a baby you would have no idea she went through this. It was a experience, but we got through it. Apparently it is most common in first born girls on the left side….just like my daughter.

Michelle on

My daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia by our general practitioner when she was four months old. She, too, wore a Pavlik harness for many months. She was pronounced well before her 1st birthday, but has since suffered more hip problems. She is 18 now and faces a life of worry and pain about her hips. Please make sure your doctor is checking for this condition.

Bobbie on

I am so glad they found your sons problem in time. My daughter was born with this also. It was not caught until she was 13 months old. At that point the hip was totally dislocated. She had to have surgery at 16 months and was in a body cast for several months. She slept in a brace after that. She also continued to have yearly checkups until the age of 8. With all that said, she had no lasting effects and now has 4 children of her own.

Tracy on

My 2nd daughter was diagnosed by the pediatrician in the hospital. For days we walked around knowing they heard a “click” not a “clunk”. Fortunately, she wore the Pavlik harness for 5 weeks and is fine. She had yearly x-rays until age 3 and is now clear.

Dottie on

I agree that this is such a refreshing and inspirational story compared to the all meaningless news floating around. The irony of course is that it came from an unexpected source which is another reason why we should never judge a book by its cover. The Whitneys may not be famous or even as influential as the Woods or Jameses but they’re obviously giving back more to the community and society on the whole.

BEST OF LUCK TO THE FAMILY! <3

JEAN MOLINA on

MAY GOD BLESS THIS WONDERFUL MAN.

Jessica Funderburg on

I was born with this and had to wear the brace until 14 months of age. I am 23 now and I am starting to deal with arthritis at my young age. I have a fear of a hip replacement in my 50s. This story really made me smile. I love Larry the Cable Guy and the fact that his family is doing so much to help others like his son and myself really moved me!

Natalie on

So proud to see someone championing this cause and raising awareness! Our 5 yr old daughter was diagnosed at 4 1/2 months. She underwent surgery and spica cast.

Colleen on

When my son was born with developmental hip dysplasia in October of 2009, I was so discouraged that such a common childhood illness had such a minimal range of treatment options. He was fitted for a Pavlik at 2 days old, and wore it 24/7 for 3 months with great results. I hope that doctors are encouraged to find less archaic and more productive means of treatment of this ailment.

Mary on

My first daughter also was diagnosed as a newborn with hip displasia. We were in the military in Germany using a German doctor. They told us to put these huge pads (which we just bought at a German store) in her diaper to keep her legs apart. We did this for 3 months and she was cured. They said if it didn’t work, we would have to use the harness, but thankfully it did. She’s 14 now and never has had any issues.

Molly on

I was born with hip dysplasia in 1973 and also wore the harness for six months. Today I am still healthy and active and all my children thankfully were born without it. I did experience severe hip pain in pregnancy and sometimes in certain exercises that use hip muscles like x-country skiing, but for the most part I am strong and healthy. We should definitely get the word out about this genetic defect and how easily it can be corrected. Kudos to this family!

Lisa on

I was born with hip dysplasia but we didn’t find that out until I was 13 I was too old for treatment and too young for surgery. I finally had to have total hip replacement surgery at the age of 37. Thanks Larry for starting this wonderful foundation. Hopefully we can get kids treated before they need joint replacement surgery.

rathnawjoe on

my absolutely adorable niece was born with it and right away was fitted with the pawlik harness not three months later she’s “fixed” started walking at 10 months….

CA on

I was also a first born girl with hip dysplasia in 1976. It wasn’t discovered until just before my first birthday. I must have been past the point where the harness would have worked, because I was placed in a cast for about a year. No major problems since, but my hip does occasionally pop. Hopefully I won’t have issues as I age. I think is wonderful that this family is using their resources to give back in a positive way. This may not be cancer or something deadly, but it affects the quality of life of so many young children! Thanks, and good luck with this endeavor!!! :)

Rhonda on

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I kept hearing a click every time she moved. I asked my OB and he thought I was just hearing things. It was directly after her birth, still in the delivery room, I told them to check her hips, and sure enough she had hip dysplasia. We double diapered her for a week, then got the pavlik harness which she wore 24/7 for 3 months. I wasn’t sure how this harness was going to work but it did and she’s now 11 and figure skating twice a week with no problems. Parents….if you think something is wrong, there probably is. Be and advocate for your kids.

Lisa on

It is great too see there is more awareness on this topic. My daughter hip dysplasia was discovered when she was 14 months old. She underwent a closed reduction and a spica cast for 3 months. She is now 7 years old with normal hips. There is also great yahoo user group for parents with children with this condition. It is a great support group.

kerry on

My oldest was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia at 9 months old. She was put into a body cast for 6 wks and then they put her into another cast for another 6 wks. These worked and she has not seen her ortho doc for 6 years!

thank you for supporting this cause!

Amy Fischer on

My first born daughter was also born with Hip Dysplasia. At 9 months old I asked my pediatrician to check her legs because when she walked around furniture she always stood on her tippy toes but only with one of her feet. I was a young mother (22) and my pediatrician brushed me off and said that I was just a young mother and worried too much. I was back in his office when she was 14 months after her grandfather noticed when changing her diaper that one leg was longer than the other. I immediately took her to her pediatrician and this was the first time that he ever did the hip check. To his surprise he discovered that she had this condition. Needless to say we were very disappointed with our doctor and was referred to a wonderful ortho ped.

Unfortunately closed reduction did not work and she had to have major hip surgery at 14 months. After being in a body cast for 8 weeks we discovered that the surgery did not work. At age two she had her second major hip surgery where they had to use some of her pelvic bone to rebuild the hip. After another 8 weeks in a cast the surgery worked and she was finally walking. My daughter is now 18 and in college. She does have continuous hip and back pain after standing for long periods of time. We most recently visted her ortho doctor and found that she really needs to have hip replacement surgery. He has suggested that we hold off as long as possible because the parts that are used for the hip replacement could potentially cause birth defects if she decides to have children someday.

It is very disheartening knowing that this could have been prevented. Before this experience I had every confidence in pediatricians but after this experience I lost all faith in them. At the time my doctor was 70+ years old, I think it was definitely time for him to retire. I am very happy to see that someone is getting the word out about this condition. I had never heard of it before my daughter was diagnosed. I have always said, it could have been worse. At least it was not a life threatening condition. Thank you to all that are getting the word out!

Sarah G on

Both my own son and Father (I was adopted so it isnt genetic) had hip dysplasia. My dad and son were both breached babies. Apparently breached babies are most likely going to have some form of it.

My dad ended up in harnesses body casts and wheel chairs for most of his early life this was in the 1950′s we’ve made so much progress! When we discovered my son had it we immediately took him to a specialist , we learned of the free swaddling and exercises to help cure it. Unlike my dad’s severe case, my son had a only a mild to medium case. We were able to fix it by a year and he now fine. He goes back in 2 years took make sure the hips are correctly aligned. If it wasnt for my dad having it, though I would have never known about.

I am happy to hear that they are trying to be more widespread about this, as if found right at birth will prevent alot of the more extreme ways of correctness.

dzermina on

my daughter has H.D had 5 surgeries .. we tried various harness for many months but her hips just were out of place.. so 5 surgeries later and 3 fully body cast at 2.5 she is doing well learning to walk..

M on

Wow. I cannot believe how many commenters have been affected by hip dysplasia. It just goes to show how common it is, I suppose. I’m glad that Larry and Cara have been able to make such a generous contribution.

Emily on

$5 million dollars?! That’s awesome! Thumbs up to a family seeing a need and doing something about it.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know how common this was until after reading this message board. And I have two babies! Great way to raise awareness on an issue that many are struggling with.

Rebecca on

My daughter also had hip dysplasia and wore the harness. Thankfully we had a fantastic orthopedic surgeon that was a great help and got us through. Glad that they are putting together more information so the word can really be spread about such a common problem.

Mom of 5 on

This is soooooo common! I had this when I was born and my mom was told that all my children would probably have this and all 5 of my children did. I have had different pedi’s/ortho’s for all children. They all said try what my mom used. Triple diaper for 3 months! Use regular diapers, a little more trouble but well worth it. It worked times 5 for my babies and was told that these days most problems linger because of disposable diapers! Many Dr’s in the past never caught it either, but because mom’s used regular diaper’s that were bulky we just never knew children had the problem. Maybe disposable diapers are not so great after all!

Rachel on

I was born with hip dysplasia also but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 19 years old. I had my first surgery then called a Ganz Osteotomy and was suppposed to last 10-20 years. Lasted 2 years because my hip was so bad. At age 23 I had a total hip replacement. Glad to hear they got it caught at an early age!

mp on

Well done, Whitneys!!!

k on

Wow! I am so surprised at the number of comments. To the Whitney family, THANK YOU! – I am a first born girl, who just last week, at the age of 46, was diagnosed with congenital hip dysplacia. I was born in 1963, so the harness was not yet in use. I am too young for a hip replacement, but will be having osteotomy. I have spent the last week soaking up every piece of information I can, and here is Larry the Cable Guy, providing a forum for us all. Just goes to show, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

SHar on

My daughter was born with this in 1975 and the worst thing for me was convincing the doctors that there was actually something wrong with her. I kept taking her to the doctor and he kept saying it would straighten itself out and to wait until she was one year old and if it wasnt better by then, then they would do something. But I didnt agree with them so I kept going in and finally they gave in and sent me to a specialist about it. Even the specialist looked at her (she didnt kick one leg at all) and agreed that it was probably nothing but they would x-ray it etc. And then he was a little embarassed when he came in with the results of the x-ray to confirm what it was. And he said that had we left this until she was a year old she would have ended up with really big problems and lots of surgeries.

The brace was put on immediately and they said it would take at least a year and her walking would be delayed quite a bit, but she only wore it for 4 or 5 months and was walking quite awhile before her first birthday. Both the GP and the specialist praised me for having caught it so early and being so persistent in pushing for having it looked into. She has had no problems whatsoever over the years.

Lori on

It is so refreshing to read a positive story on this site! Good for the Cable Guy and his wife to be such positive influences… so many with their status stick to the “it’s only about us” mode.

God bless them for their efforts and helping others!! It’s wonderful to see people, such as them, paying it forward!

Lynn Johnston on

Our daughter Mackenzie born in 1998 also suffered from hip dyslasia. She was diagnosed immediately after her birth and fitted with the harness before we left the hospital. She was in the harness for 24 hrs a day for the first 3 months and 8 hours a day for another 3 months. Today, she is a completely healthy 11 year old and enjoys playing soccer and hockey as well as swimming. Kudos to our pediatrician who ensured that our daughter was cared for by one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Niagara Falls.

Becky on

I am 62 yrs. old and still fighting the effects of being born with h.d. and a shallow hip socket. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was about a year old. I have had many surgeries as a child, a hip replacement that luckily lasted 28 yrs, and a hip revision. I’m now having problems with the revision, and walking with crutches. Oh how I wish that they had that brace when I was a baby. Thank you Larry for raising the awareness!

Megan on

My son and I were both born with hip dysplasia of the right hip. It is HIGHLY genetic, so if there is any family history babies should definitely be checked carefully. Neither of us were breech babies. I was lucky and only had to wear the pavlik harness for 6 weeks, but unfortunately 9 weeks of harness wear didn’t work for my son and he had a closed reduction and wore a spica cast (armpits to ankles) for 16 weeks. He is now a happy, healthy and VERY active 3 year-old with normal hips. Thank goodness for modern medicine!

Karen on

Awww, what a GREAT family!

Julie on

My daughter had hip dysplasia, and she also wore the harness for several months. It does take an emotional toll! Years later it seems like only a small time, but back then it felt like we were being robbed of the newborn cuddle time. It was heartbreaking when we’d put her back in it after a bath. But it worked, and we’re thankful for that! I didn’t have friends who had dealt with it, so it’s comforting to see that someone felt the same way. Best wishes!

Katie on

God bless Larry and his wife Cara!! They are incredible people with two beautiful children!!!

Richard on

I was born in 1964 with hip dysplasia, but it wasn’t discovered until I after I started walking and complained about pain. My local orthopedic surgeon said there was a new surgery called a Salter Osteotomy. He said he could do it, but it would be his first, so at his recommendation, my parents flew me up to the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, where Dr. Salter himself performed the operation. I’m like a rock star now if I ever have to go to see an Orthopedist, and tell them I had surgery by Dr. Salter!

Anyway, 46 years old, hip is still going strong!

Shelly on

I too was born with hip dysplasia. However, I was not diagnosed until my mid 20′s when the pain was becoming too much to bear. I had a hip replacement at the age of 35. That was 3 years ago and without a doubt the best thing that ever happened. I can now do so many things I was not able to do before and playing with my kids is now fun instead of painful. Thanks for bringing light to this condition that affects so many children.

Vicky S. on

My daughter Adrianna was diagnosed by her pediatrician 12 hours after her birth. He said he was purposely looking for hip dysplasia when she surprised us all being breach. Her position was bent at the hips, head & toes touching. Sure enough, during the exam clicks were heard and he could see her hip joints “popping” in and out. This exam was not painful to her. She was immediately fitted with three diapers. One week later her custom harness was on and four months later calcification occured in both hips…no more brace. She is now 20, active and with no permanent effects. The KEY is to have pediatricians trained in hip dysplasia and for early diagnosis and treatment. We can’t thank ours enough.

misty on

Thank you for bringing awareness to this diagnosis…I was born with this defect myself, and wore the harness and it worked for me as well. I do have hip pain when its cold and wet outside, but other than that I can walk and I am forever thankful that my parents kept me in the harness!!

Terri on

Adults, usually women, are also diagnosed with hip dysplasia and do not have as many treatment options as babies. I was diagnosed at age 45 with severe bilateral dysplasia and underwent two periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) surgeries last year at age 46. My pelvis was broken so the hip socket could be correctly oriented, and I now have 13 screws in my pelvis. This is a difficult surgery and recovery is long and arduous.

Discovery in adulthood is rare and many doctors, even orthopedic surgeons, are woefully underinformed about the condition. There is support for those who have to go through either a PAO or a total hip replacement at a relatively young age. For “K” and other adults who are recently diagnosed, I recommend http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/hipwomen for information and support from other adult hip dysplasia patients.

Amy on

After our daughter was born the doctors examined her for hip dysplasia. Since she was female, first born, and delivered in a breech position she had the classic trifecta of criteria. An orthopedic surgeon was called in and she confirmed our daughter had the condition. She told us to wait two weeks (apparently in rare cases it heals on its own) and come back to recheck. Sure enough, her hips had not improved. She was fitted with a harness, to be worn 24 hours a day. We were devastated at the time but in retrospect it was a minor blip in our lives. At the 4 month mark we were able take the harness off for short periods, and by 6 months our girl was harness-free. She is now an active healthy 10 year old, thanks to observant doctors and modern medicine.

Maureen on

My daughter was born with this as well and was treated with the harness – starting at 3 days old (both hips, more so on the left). We worked with a doctor (her second doctor) who researched a smaller, softer harness from Europe (not as large and plastic as her first one) and he also allowed her to be out of it for 3 hours a day. She wore it for 12 weeks and it did the trick. Like the Whitney’s not being able to cuddle and snuggle your baby is very hard – but the outcome is worth it. Thanks for sharing this story.

Melissa on

My daughter was diagnosed at the time of her birth. She was seen by an orthopedic specialist when she was just 5 days old. An ultrasound at 6 weeks of age revealed that her hip joints were shallow. She was fitted with a “Rhino Cruiser” brace and wore it for 12 weeks. She began walking at 10 months old. She is now 6 ½ years old and this is her 5th year of dance and she recently started competitive ice skating. We were told that early detection is imperative. I’m only posting because she used a different type of brace that was also successful.

Mary on

I live in the Netherlands, and it is normal practice for all newborns to have their hips checked for HD shortly after birth, and during the 4 week/8 week/3 month wellness checks. I was lucky neither of my girls had this condition, but my friend’s daughter was diagnosed with it. She was fitted into a brace, wore it for a few months, and is now a healthy, active 9 year old without any problems.

Robin on

Beautiful family, wonderful cause. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Nebraskan.

Cathy on

I was born in 1958 with hip dysplasia. It was undiagnosed until I was 11 or 12 months old and then they discovered that bulky cloth diapers (the only option then) were causing my hip to pop out of the socket. So my parents pulled up the rugs and I went commando for quite a while until I was potty trained. The only brace I wore was this bar that was attached to shoes that kept my feet splayed out. That sure didn’t work. I had a popping hip throughout my childhood. Running was difficult at best. My hip joint would occasionally stick so that I couldn’t stand up straight (often after rising from sitting on the toilet.) The pain got worse and worse through my teens and adulthood.

Finally, in my early 40s, I could bear it no longer and I had a hip replacement. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I felt like I had to. Being so young, they used a technique where my existing bone grows onto the prosthetic, so recovery took a long, long time (in older people, they use a glue that isn’t quite as strong and may not last quite as long.) Now, almost 8 years later, my hip feels bionic. No pain other than occasional muscle pain. I had the surgery when the minimal incision hip replacements first started and I wasn’t a candidate. That’s my story – I have rarely spoken to anybody who has had the same problems as me. I felt like a freak of nature when I had to have a hip replacement so young, but obviously, there are a lot of babies born with this problem.

Amy on

My daughter was diagnosed with CHD on her right hip when she was less than 24 hours old. We met with the orthopedic surgeon that afternoon and were told she had to wear the Pavlik harness. She wore the harness for the first four months of her life – for 24 hours a day – every day. We went to doctors appts every week, alternating between the pediatrician and the orthopedic surgeon, eventually being referred to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

The fifth month, we were able to remove the harness for bath time and a few hours of play time. We had to put it back on for nap time and bed time. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – put that harness back on a happy, wriggling baby.

Thankfully, we had luck – at 6 months old, we were allowed to take it off – her latest x-rays had shown dramatic improvement – her subsequent x-rays and ultrasounds over the past 3 years (she’s 3 1/2 now) all look wonderful. She has been cleared to live the happy active life of a normal child.

I thought this was something only we had to go through, at the time, I had no idea it was such a common diagnosis.

Lara on

Both my babies were breech, and were evaluated for HD by manual exam, listening for clicks and by ultrasound when they were 1 week old. Luckily neither baby had HD, but I am thankful that my doctors knew to check for it. I had never heard of it before!

bc on

I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, and wore leg braces for a while as a child(in the early 70′s) I now am in my 30′s and dealing with painful and debilitating arthritis. Doctors advise against the hip replacement surgery now, due to my age, and once you get the surgeries, you get on the cycle for replacements. This is not a fun problem to have at all, it is 24/7 pain, and I’m overwhelmed to see all the comments here from others who have experienced this. I am so glad to hear that awareness is being brought to this. I really had no idea it was this common. I really hate to think of any children having this kind of pain to look forward to as adults.

Amanda on

I was born with hip dysplasia in 1978 but was not diagnosed until I was 16. I’m now 31 and have had 13 surgeries on my hip and knees including a derotational osteotomy at 16 and a total hip replacement eight months ago. Some of my surgeries have been on my knees because of the deterioration my hip has caused them. I have severe bursitis and arthritis from years of this. For now, I am enjoying life as I can knowing that I will have to have another replacement at some time.

I certainly wish my diagnosis had come sooner but my experiences have made me who I am today. I am extremely happy for those who are able to be treated early in life and wish them well!

JenT on

Please note the Doctor from Arnold Palmer is not Chad Price but Charles Price. He is amazing my son has seen him a number of times for an undiagnosed condition. I just want to make sure his name is correct.

———
Same guy! He goes by Chad and asked that that be the name used in the story.

- PEOPLE Moms & Babies Staff

Alison on

My daughter was born in December 2008. In the hospital her doctor heard hip clicks and wanted her to get an ultrasound right away; but the hospital she was delivered at couldn’t/wouldn’t do it for her because they didn’t have the capability or know-how to do this to such a tiny person! We made an appointment for Children’s Hospital from our hospital room and when she was a week old we went in for the US.

They found out she had severe hip dysplasia. Her left hip was far worse than her right, so they tried the Pavlik Harness and she was in that from 1 week old until 2 months old for 24 hours a day…I never got to totally snuggle her or swaddle her, nothing (and this was my first baby!). She went in for her check-up at 2 months old and they gave her another US…turns out she needed the hip spica cast (full body cast basically). We were so devasted just because she’s our little peanut; we don’t want to see her like that! But, at almost 3 months old she went in and had a couple cast changes as she grew and by 5 months old she was out of the cast (such a happy day!). She then slept in a rhino cruiser brace for naps and nighttime from that day until June of this year (so over a year). She just went in every six months for xrays and checkups.

She doesn’t wear the brace anymore and is slowly improving. She sees one of the top doctors for this; so we have complete confidence in him. We go again November to see how her hip has been doing without the aid of a brace or anything! Cross your fingers all is well!! Oh, and in case you have a child with hip dyplasia as serious as my little girl’s; she still hit every milestone right on time, including walking at her first birthday! She’ll be 2 in December and I hope we have only good news from here on out! :)

Garfield12323 on

I did not know how common this was, either! I was born breach in 1969 with hip dysplasia and like many already mentioned, the doctor told my mom that the ‘fix’ was to keep three cloth diapers on me. Not sure that it totally worked. One of my legs is longer than the other and this causes me hip pain at times. It’s funny, one thing that ALWAYS causes my hip to kill me is when my husband and I slow dance — going from one foot to the other, slowly turning in a circle. I also have lower back pain and my knees now hurt. While I’ve never had my hips checked out by a doctor (probably should, huh?), I’ve kind of had it in the back of my mind that I’ll need hip replacement surgery sooner or later. By the way, I have three children and they all have perfect hips, thank goodness!

isacutie on

Reading something like this really warms the heart. What the Whitneys’ are doing is truly amirable. I’m glad that their son is doing well and pray that he will continue to do well. God bless this family.

Shelly on

I’m in my early 20′s and I have (Congenital) bilateral hip hysplasia. They never caught it at birth and I only got treated for it after I noticed the pain and popping in my hips when I was 18. On the 21st, I had my second Periacetabular Osteotomy on my left hip (my first was in January for my right hip) and I’m so thankful to have it done and over with. (they saw my pelvis apart, and cut out the acetabulum, rotate it and put screws in my bones to hold everything in place.) It is a very complex and major operation and I have 9 screws in my hips to prove it! I would love to get the word out there about it because I feel if people knew more about it, they could save kids a lot of trouble for when they grow up if they took care of the issue when they are born/at a young age. I would never wish for people to go through this surgery. It is a very painful and long (months-years) recovery.

Kristen on

My daughter was frank breech and checked several times at birth for hip dysplasia (she was born just a month before the Whitney’s son) by over 5 pediatricians who all saw no diagnosis. They were correct, my daughter did not have hip dysplasia, however, my mother (a pediatric nurse who occasionally fancies herself knowing more than doctors) kept insisting they try to do more. I had to stand up to my mother and tell her I did not want ultrasounds (that my insurance would not cover because my daughter’s medical records clearly stated on all of her exams no evidence of dysplasia) and did not want my daughter taken to a chiropractor (my insurance did not cover chiropractic) as my inlaws wanted because my mother had put a bug in their ear.

I applaud the Whitneys for raising awareness. New parents should add this to the questions they use when interviewing pediatricians…will they check for hip dysplasia (for all baby’s not just breech ones). Parents should also take the Whitney’s advice and seek out additional opinions. No parent should be bullied by family, doctors or anyone else to seek a treatment option they do not feel is necessary. I learned that from experience.

Lisa on

Wow this must really be 1 out of every 20 babies for real. Just look at all the comments and see how common it is. Glad to see Dan and his wife are helping to make a difference. I watched his story on the BIO channel the other day. It was very nice!

Patte on

I had 2 daughters born with hip dysplasia, due to frank breech births. Thanks to a wonderful orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Greene, who in 1986 had recently become aware of the Pavlik harness, both of my daughters wore the device for 3 months and they both recovered beautifully. Even though they looked like little frogs with the harness on, one of those little frogs grew up to set records on the track team.

Amy on

My daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, but rather than use the harness, we worked with a great pediatric chiropractor and fixed the problem completely without harnesses or anything at all like that. She’s 100% on target now and we’re so glad that we went that route.

Kassi on

I’m so thrilled that Larry the Cable guy and his family are supporting a much needed cause and his son is alright! I was born with severe cases of hip dysplasia in both of my hips 25 years ago. Sadly not a lot of people knew about the condition then and what to do for it so now after 34 surgeries and three hip replacements I seem to be coming to an end of what I call my hip adventures, stronger and happier then ever because of it! Reading his story touched my heart and I’m glad that he is getting the word out to help and support other patients and families so they don’t have to go through all of the things that my family and myself went through.

Odette on

I just want to say that I think it’s wonderful what they’re doing and I am glad to hear that his son is healthy and active now. I teared up a little when reading this. God bless them and may both of their children be healthy and well.

X-ray tech on

Had congenital hip dysplasia of one of my hips when I was born (1981) and wore the brace for a couple of months. Hip healed together just fine! No problems since. Been 30 years. Congrats to the family for the go-get-em attitude! *smile*

TH on

I was born with hip dysplasia in 1975…my mom was told to keep me in triple cloth diapers for several weeks to hold my hips in place. After that she was told I was cured. No follow up was ever recommended. After years of pain, as a young teen I happened to watch a 20/20 special about adults with hip dysplasia. I asked my mom if that is what I had, and to my surprise she said yes! (She had never told me!)

As a teen I worked a part-time job on my feet at a grocery store, and after work I would sit down and not be able to stand again from the pain and stiffness. After much pleading I finally took myself to our family doctor when I was 17 and got x-rays and he told me my sockets were so deteriorated that I had to have surgery right away! It seemed they didn’t really know what to do for me, I was only 17 and too young for replacements. I understand that my x-rays were sent up and down CA and into Canada for advice and finally my surgeon performed bilateral osteotomies. I was in the hospital for a month, a wheelchair for three months, and it took me a full year to re-learn how to walk. There was no follow up for me after that, but I was told that I would “eventually need replacements”.

I was in more pain after the surgery than before the surgery, although I have recently learned to control my arthritis with diet and exercise. I still don’t know what to do for the future…none of my doctors since then are familiar with my condition, so pain management and advice has been a challenge. I really hope this new organization helps get information out there for other sufferers.

Angela on

I have hip dysplacia and I’m getting surgery. I really recommend getting an xray when you are born and throughout your kids life to check for clicking or popping because once it reaches the point I’m at right now it just gets worse and worse every day.

Becky on

I have never heard of this..As someone else said, thank you to the Whitney’s for getting this out and donating money..It is nice to hear about celebs doing great things..

Susan on

My sister was born in 1957 and I in 1958. We were both diagnosed with hip dysplasia. She wore the steel rod attached to the shoes to keep her feet splayed out, and I had a contraption that basically was pillows between my legs. Having two little girls under 2 years old wearing their braces all the time was probably quite an ordeal for my parents to carry us around, etc. I think we both wore these until we were about 2 years old. Our kids were checked for it but were clear. I have never heard of any other child having this and I too thought we were some sort of freaks. Growing up I always felt that my hips were the weakest part of my body – I remember them aching when it was cold and wet when I was a kid. Now that I’m in my fifties they’re definitely stiff and achy when I’m tired or its cold/wet. Congratulations to the Whitneys for their dedication to helping kids with this disorder. Reading all the comments, I feel very lucky that all my sister and I have suffered since has been some achiness and stiffness. Good luck to all of you recovering from this!

Jessica on

In 1982 my mom was told that she “walked around with a black cloud over her head” because she was an “older mother” (at age 33 – ha) when she noticed that I wasn’t bearing weight on one leg normally. The pediatrician blew her off several times. When I was finally diagnosed with hip dysplasia it was too late for the harness so I wore a body cast for 9 months. Thankfully, it was successful and I did not require surgery. Hearing stories from others who have had to suffer lifelong problems from this condition makes me feel extremely lucky.

Melinks on

Wow. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with HD at 5 days old, was in a Spica Cast for 2 consecutive 8 week periods, then in a pavlik harness, and 2 other types of harnesses for 2 full years. She learned to walk wearing one of them (looked like a little sumo baby). The cast was the worst – I got so many looks from people who probably thought I had done something to her. She is now 9, and you would never know anything was ever wrong. I completely credit my incredible pediatrician for diagnosing it on her first visit to her, and the fabulous orthopedic surgeon for the aggressive treatment. Apparently the spica cast isn’t usually used until babies are older…but I am very glad we got it over with while she was smaller.

Because of the incredible care we received, I had no idea until reading this article that it was such a misunderstood condition. I also read somewhere that Mary Lou Retton suffered from it.

Super Hip Chick ™ on

Adult (12-adult) hip dysplasia, hip impingement, labral tear, etc information and support can also be found at http://www.hippreservation.org.

Marla on

I was born with hip dysplasia in 1980. I wore the Palvic harness as well. Now that I am 30, I am doing OK. I have had hip arthritis since I was about 14, and it’s only getting worse over the years. My x-rays look good “for now”. If I take good care to move a lot but not extra impact on them, I will be fine without any surgery. I wish the best to “larry the cable guy” and his family. Why wasn’t there any info for them when this has been going on for a long time now?

Jodi on

I was born in 1966 with hip dysplasia and the doctor told my mom to put 7 cloths diapers on me for every change. i started walking at the age of 2. i have had no serious problems since then but still get a painless clicking and or grinding in the hip

Missy on

In 2001 my second daughter was born with hip dysplasia. When she was first diagnosed, which was when she was first born, I had no idea what the future was going to bring my daughter. She was fitted with a full body velcro harness at 6 days old. I never cried so hard as the Dr. was trying to show me how to put it on and adjust it. I was just so confused. Of course I was on an 8 week maternity leave from work and her second ultrasound was to be at 7 weeks. We took her in for her final ultrasound at 7 weeks and the Dr. said “it worked”!! Knowing I hated having her in that full body harness was worth those long 7 weeks knowing she would be a normal child. My dtr just turned 10yrs old and is the fasted runner in her class and on her soccer team. She does cheerleading and her jumps are amazing. The advice I was given as the Dr. first spoke to me was “please keep this on your child full time everyday, except when given a bath, it can work but you have to help your child even though it may take a toll on you as a parent, seeing your child in such a way” I did listen to him and my dtr is one of the lucky ones, and I am so very thankful!!

anna on

Wow! I am loving all the personal stories being shared.

steve rice on

Hi all,
We have a simalir story .Our first born was born early and delivered breach.We were told see was fine ,since we knew nothing about hip displacement we were once again told shes fine but shes been in this position for a while don`t worry.The joy of a new born was awesome even thou she cried and cried for months .We ask our Doctor and we said she isn`t straightening her leg.He checked her said she will grow out of it.3 months goes by, my wife is having a bath with our baby and sees that same leg off to oneside and looks a little longer.We go to the doctor and xrays are taken within a day we are now at childrens hospital about to go to surgery for no hip socket she was born this way ,talk about a nightmare our little babies going under the knife and put into a body cast.six weeks later cast cut off new one put on,another six weeks goes by and this one get cut off with aloud saw our daughter was freaking out because of the noise and very scared no knowing whats happenning.We had to get her into a brace and keep her in it for 3 months.So her walking was delaid thankfully she was an angel and should have hips that will last her her lifetime. sincerely steve

Stephanie on

I was born in 1968 with hip dysplasia but was not diagnosed until I was 11 years old. Woke up one morning and couldn’t walk. Was rushed to my doctor who in turn rushed me to Children’s Hospital and was having surgery the next day. But they did not replace my hip..they told my parents I was to young for a hip replacement so they did a temporary fix and said I could never be over weight or carry children and my hip would need to be replaced before I was 30. Well I am 44 with 3 healthy teenagers But I have lived with pain all my life. Im now in so much pain nothing over the counter works. I sit here and think because of my hip I have never been able to sit Indian style, I know sounds petty but sitting on the floor with my kid lwhen they were little was hard and painful. I know it’s time because the pain is disrupting my every day life but I am scared to death to have this done!!!

MICHAEL BODE on

Our 21-year old daughter is going for PAO (Peri-ascetabular osteotomy) surgery for hip dysplasia this Monday, May 14, 2012. Please say a prayer for her.

What you are doing, Dan and Cara, is surely God’s work. YOU GO!!!!

God Bless You,
Mike

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