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Living with Hip Dysplasia and Knocked Knees while Pregnant

pain and inflammation pregnancy Oct 09, 2022

A story about growing up with pain and how it took decades to diagnose this condition. #painchronicles


I have experienced occasional mild to moderate hip and knee pain since I was a child and was never told exactly why. Doctors told me they were “growing pains.” Despite the random “diagnosis” of growing pains, I was given excuses out of PE during middle school and high school for years because the pain was that bad. I’ve always known that I walked a little funnier than my classmates and my anatomy was just slightly different. But again, no doctor gave me answers nor have they ever simply pointed it out. WHY? No clue.


I was diagnosed with a handful of other medical conditions as life’s trials continued to beat me into shape. Overtime, I learned that all my symptoms – mental and physical – correlated closely with my diet, exercise, and lifestyle overall. So, I stayed in shape as best as I could, and my pain was manageable.


I got pregnant with my first child. I gained 65 pounds throughout the pregnancy! It was ridiculous. Before this pregnancy, I never cared for sweets, my preference for “junk food” were crunchy salty foods like chips or anything fried. But this little girl growing inside me had me craving for sweets like there was no tomorrow. Suddenly, I wanted everything – cakes, cupcakes, cookies, breads. I went on a hunt for the BEST sweets out there!

As I gained that weight quickly in the first trimester, the pains started to creep in more regularly. First, it was the creaking knee pains, especially walking up and down the stairs. Then the hips pains, especially when twisting and changing body positions. And finally, by 19 weeks pregnant, I woke up one day and I could not bear weight on my right leg. I was holding on to walls or crawling around just to get from one room to another. Thank goodness I still lived in a small apartment at that time! The pain was so unbearable, and I was utterly confused. Since I was pregnant, doctors insisted it was sciatica. But I did not have any of the classic “shooting” or “radiating” pain that sciatica was known for. After about 2 weeks, my leg and hips did feel like it went back in its place and I was able to walk again, but with a limp and still with moderate pain for the rest of the pregnancy.

Besides unfortunately gaining lots of weight, I did do many self-care activities to manage my mental and physical health. I went walking regularly and experimented with new ways to exercise, because my choice of exercise (Pilates) was suddenly too painful for me. I had weekly appointments for chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Even with all the pains, I felt like I managed it as well as I could have. I was happy and excited for our new baby, and the pain was not slowing me down (too much). I was able to delivery this baby vaginally without complications!


I was cleaning my house on a random night, fell and subluxed my left knee. Painful as F***. Imaging was done, and my orthopedist says this kind of injury is common in people with Genu Valgum, aka knocked knees. I’m like – common in people with WHAT? No one has literally told me that’s what this was called. I mean – I understand if it weren’t severe enough that I never complained about pain, but I did complain throughout my life and was never given a name. Even though there’s no official treatment for this, it still would’ve been nice to be aware of my risks so that I can prepare appropriately… But that’s not the end of it…

I was in a brace for quite some time, and since I was putting all the pressure to compensate on my right side, those hip pains during pregnancy started to come back. We finally got some imaging done on my hips and finally, the diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hip. Mine is mostly in a subluxation state. We were convinced that when I was pregnant with the first pregnancy and couldn’t walk for a few weeks, I was probably dislocated. 


I was devastated, mostly because I couldn’t walk, nor chase after my 1 year old who just learned to take her first steps.  


It took nearly a year after my knee injury before I could walk normally again without severe pain in my knees and for my hip pain to calm down… I was tired of the pains and decided to take drastic steps into healing my health. That’s when I started the AIP diet end of 2020. I lost a significant amount of weight – read the summary of my journey here – and was in decent shape, my pains have decreased. Then I got pregnantBoy has this been a tough one… I lasted a little longer this time around – about 22 weeks as opposed to 19 weeks before my hips started to give out. I did start physical therapy early as an attempt to prevent it… I swear I tried my best to not gain as much weight this time around… Before each pregnancy, I was on very strict diets, so going back to “normal diet,” has me gaining a lot and fast. Of course, I tried to stay on the strict diet, but nausea and food aversions were overwhelming me.

Shortly after this time, the severe pains in my hips began, which was putting more pressure on my knees. My overall posture looks terrible. I work 12 hour shifts where I am on my feet most of the day and sitting for short, but frequent periods of time. The constant sitting to standing, twisting motions especially when in a rush was becoming unsafe. There were times I would step incorrectly, and my hips would give out just a little, but enough to need to catch myself holding onto the table.

The worst pain, however, comes at night. I cannot sleep on my back because that’s painful for whatever reason, and when I sleep on my sides, I feel the weight of my body pushing my hips out of place. Eventually that discomfort does subside and I can fall asleep. But when I wake up, I am unable to move, the pain is so severe, I am unable to bare weight on that side for some time, until it feels like its back in its place – usually within an hour or so of getting up and readjusting myself. Now with the pubic symphysis pain flaring up, it is extremely painful to switch positions from side to side, and this disrupts my sleep as well. Lack of restful sleep + increase in pain = no patience and moody pregnant mama.

Current attempt at self-care

Since my work situation was becoming unsafe and at risk for falls, my medical team and I decided it was time I stopped working for now to take care of myself. Since I have been off, I’ve mentally felt a little better because one big thing is off my plate, but the pains are getting worse the farther along in pregnancy I get. And of course, the “normal” pregnancy pains are kicking in, like pubic symphysis pains and round ligament pains. I started acupuncture and massage, regular workout routines, and soon, chiropractic care. Let’s see how these all go <3

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*What helped you manage your chronic pain, during or not with pregnancy? Let me know in the comments!


Disclaimer: Always seek consultation with your health care provider before starting any new diets or if you have questions regarding your symptoms or medical conditions. The content is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information presented is solely for your education and entertainment purposes.

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