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Byline: By HELEN RAE Health Reporter

BOUND from waist to ankle, Rhianah Lopez is getting used to having minimal mobility.

For more than a week the one-year-old has been incarcerated in a cast after undergoing an operation for development dysplasia of the hip, known as DDH.

And now she will not be able to walk for up to nine months.

Three in 1,000 babies are diagnosed with the condition in which the thigh bone fails to fit into the pelvis.

And although Rhianah was born with DDH, it was only spotted when she began learning how to walk.

Speaking from their home in Tynemouth Road, Howdon, North Tyneside, mum Kristie urged parents to look out for the illness.

The 24-year-old sales manager said: "I noticed she wasn't walking properly, she kept her right leg straight.

"I went to see my GP and it was suggested my daughter have an X-ray. I was told she had development dysplasia of the hip."

Rhianah was in North Tyneside General Hospital for more than three weeks.

She was put in traction with bandages around both legs. Last Wednesday the youngster underwent a two-hour operation and more treatment will be required.

Rhianah was put in a cast - which she will wear for a minimum of three-and-a-half months - and then she will need to wear a brace.

"My daughter has very little mobility. I'm trying to remain as positive as I can," she said.

Within six weeks of being born, all babies are given a check-up in which DDH should be diagnosed.

"I think the doctors and nurses on Ward 10 have been fantastic, but I am annoyed Rhianah's condition was not picked up," explained the mum-of-two.

Kristie added: "I just want to make parents aware of development dysplasia of the hip. If they think their child is walking differently they should get it checked out."

Kristie said her husband Francisco, 24, a mechanic, and their daughter Kyana, two, are all looking forward to Rhianah getting back to full-mobility.


THE cause of development dysplasia of the hip is not known, although the condition is more common in girls.

It may occur during foetal development, at delivery, or after birth.

If the dislocation is detected in early infancy, splints are applied to the thigh to manoeuvre the ball of the joint into the socket and keep it in position.

These splints are worn for about three months and usually correct the problem.

If treatment is delayed, there may be lifelong problems with walking.

Without treatment, the dislocation often leads to shortening of the leg, limping, and early osteoarthritis in the joint.


BRAVE: Rhianah with mum Kristie; LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY: Rhianah Lopez in her cast after her operation PICTURES: TONY HALL ref: 01282185
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 11, 2008
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