Stories about: Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program

Nicole’s Story: Dancing my way through pain

Nicole Zizzi dancer hip dysplasia PAO Thriving blog lead image
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICKEY WEST PHOTOGRAPHY

Dance is my life passion.

I’ve spent more than 15 hours a week dancing for most of my 26 years — except for a period of time the past few years, when hip pain forced me to stop.

We dancers usually don’t express our pain; in fact, we almost like to be in pain because it means we’re working hard and improving. So, when I woke up one morning two years ago and I couldn’t lift my left leg, I knew something was very wrong. This pain was too intense to ignore.

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The PAO buddy system: Healing through connection

Leigh Lozano and Alyse Scanlon PAO patients Thriving lead image

For people with significant orthopedic hip conditions such as hip dysplasia, a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) is a major surgery that can reduce or eliminate pain, while also increasing hip function. However, the post-op recovery and rehabilitation process can be long and sometimes painful.

“Recovery is an up and down process,” says Ariana Moccia, a nurse practitioner who works closely with patients in the Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s important for patients to be able to share their frustrations and successes with somebody who really understands.” That’s why Ariana and orthopedic hip preservation surgeon Dr. Eduardo Novais have been working to connect prospective PAO patients with others who have already gone through the surgery.

Three of the patients who helped initiate the PAO “buddy system” at Boston Children’s share their experiences.

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What you should know about hip labral tears in young athletes

Dr. Young-Jo Kim hip labral tears Q&A lead image

Labral tears are a common injury in the hip, particularly with young athletes who may have underlying hip anatomy issues, such as hip dysplasia or impingement. Treatment for labral tears can range from rest and physical therapy to open surgery, with time away from sports spanning from days to weeks, or even months.

It’s important that any individual experiencing hip pain see a physician as soon as possible in order to limit pain and damage to the hip. Dr. Young-Jo Kim, a pediatric and young adult orthopedic hip specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, discusses the causes of labral tears and his philosophy for treatment of this injury in young athletes.

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Teamwork and toughness: Living with cerebral palsy

María Sordo cerebral palsy Thriving lead image

Growing up in Querétaro, Mexico, María was an exceptionally bright and inquisitive child. At just 18 months old, she spoke at the level of a 6-year-old, and could even sing the tongue-twisting “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” song. Her parents marveled at her intelligence at such a young age, but there was something in her development that seemed off.

“At 1 year, she wasn’t crawling well and had difficulty standing,” her mother, María José, recalls. “She hadn’t learned to walk by 18 months, and she would crawl by pulling her two legs at the same time — like a little bunny.” Her parents knew that something was wrong, so they took her to see a pediatrician in their home country of Mexico.

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