Most babies start walking between nine and twelve months. Nora Garvey’s parents started to become concerned when she turned one-year-old and was still unable to walk. When Nora did make an attempt to walk, her parents noticed she walked on her tiptoes on her right foot.
“We knew that some children didn’t walk by their first birthday, so we weren’t too concerned right away. However a month or so after her first birthday we didn’t see any improvement so we decided to seek help,” said Crystal Garvey, Nora’s mom.
After some back and forth from their pediatrician and First Steps, the Garvey’s made an appointment with OrthoIndy orthopedic pediatric specialist, Dr. Carlos Berrios.
Nora had X-rays done, which confirmed that she had bilateral hip dysplasia (both of Nora’s hips were dislocated). Furthermore, Nora’s right hip was severely underdeveloped. Crystal and Nora’s father, Jacob were shocked when they found out Nora would need surgery.
“Before we saw Dr. Berrios we thought Nora would likely only need physical therapy, so after Nora’s diagnosis we experienced a lot of different emotions. We felt guilty that we didn’t seek answers sooner, and of course we were sad and scared that our little girl would have to go through a pretty rough surgery and have a long recovery ahead of her,” said Crystal. “Not knowing exactly how well she would recover was the scariest feeling of all; would she ever be able to walk?”
Developmental hip dysplasia tends to be hereditary and is most often present at birth, but can develop during a child’s first year. Usually babies born with hip dysplasia have no symptoms as it is usually not painful.
If hip dysplasia is detected at birth, it can usually be corrected nonsurgically with the use of a harness or brace. However, if the condition is not noticed until the child begins walking, treatment is more complicated.
Dr. Berrios worked with fellow OrthoIndy orthopedic pediatric specialist, Dr. Kosmas Kayes to ensure Nora had the best results possible during her surgery.
“I decided Nora’s surgery would be best done together with Dr. Kayes since we believe in teamwork and he is an outstanding surgeon,” said Dr. Berrios. “Nora’s family was very caring and she has very good parents that took great care of her. They were also very strong mentally, which helped Nora before and after surgery.”
Nora had surgery in July 2017 and was in a lower body cast for three months. After the cast, she was in a brace for another month to help her hips regain strength. The Garvey’s spent that summer and the majority of the fall at home as Nora could not easily travel safely with her cast or brace.
Life after surgery
However, it was all worth it according to Crystal and Jacob.
“Nora has been amazing through this whole process. Nora had the initial surgery, three cast changes, and a second surgery to remove the hardware in her hip left over from the first surgery. Now she wears a hip brace every night to bed, and a leg brace during the day to keep her from toe walking. Despite all of that, she has the best little personality any parent could ask for. She loves people and even smiles and waves to Dr. Berrios when she sees him.”
Now Nora is attending physical therapy and making great strides to walk on her own. The Garvey’s hope to take a family vacation to celebrate once Nora can officially walk by herself.
“Dr. Berrios has been amazing and words cannot explain how grateful we are for everything he’s done for Nora. He was very upfront with us from the beginning about how serious Nora’s condition was and how extensive the surgery would be,” said Crystal. “Although he couldn’t make any promises on Nora’s recovery, he was always very positive. He was also very patient when it came to answering all of our questions, even if we asked the same questions multiple times.”
In most cases, if diagnosed early and treated successfully, children with developmental hip dysplasia will grow into adulthood without further hip problems.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Berrios, please call 317.802.2847 or learn more about pediatric orthopedic care at OrthoIndy.