THREE years ago, Leeming resident Sarah Twomey was a mother of two asking “what can I do?”
Her two daughters – Eve and Maya, aged three and one at the time – were both receiving treatment for hip dysplasia, a relatively unknown condition where the hip joints fail to develop normally.
But Ms Twomey’s question was not posed from a position of helplessness.
What she wanted to know was how she could help other parents in a similar position.
From that she founded Healthy Hips Australia, a not-for-profit group offering resources and education on hip dysplasia.
“Quite often the biggest impact is on families,” Ms Twomey said.
“It affects how you hold (your child), how you feed them, how they are seated in the car, and there’s different stages of treatment.
“Parents can feel overwhelmed, then guilty because they don’t want to moan about something that isn’t life threatening.”
Hip dysplasia – also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip – occurs when the ball and socket of the hip do not sit correctly.
Left untreated, it can lead to decreased functionality in the joints and has been identified as a cause of early on-set arthritis.
Ms Twomey said just half of the families seeking support through her organisation had heard about the condition prior to their child being diagnosed with it.
With one in six full-term newborns having some hip instability, she said she wanted to increase awareness significantly.
“Parents are the best advocates for their children,” she said.
“Arming them with the knowledge about the risk factors for, and potential signs of, this condition means they can help their child to be diagnosed as early as possible.
“Many don’t even realise they have a family history of hip issues until their child’s treatment commences which prompts the conversation to be had with extended family.”
For information, visit www.healthyhipsaustralia.org.au.