Discovering “Dog Hip” — A Survival Guide

Thoughty Thursday is a bit of a health discussion and update today. I’ve been keeping things from you, my peeps!

About three months ago, I discovered I have “Dog Hip” (what we’re calling Hip Dysplasia). Probably, I should thank my husband for this discovery. Before the following conversation I was in the chiropractor’s office every few weeks with a hip that was killing me.

The Hubs: You’re going to the chiropractor again?

Me: Yeah. He’ll rub this, crack that, and slam my hip back into place. I’ll be good to go.

Him: *rounding on me with THE FACE* Your brother had an emergency hip replacement at thirty-six years old. Don’t you think you should go get it looked at?

Me: But that was probably from an injury–

Him: *beady stare*

You know how when your dog is in trouble, they look everywhere except at your face? Yeah… I did that, before slinking off to text my primary care physician.

The doc sent me in for an x-ray and, lo and behold, at forty-plus, I found out I have mild hip dysplasia (aka Dog Hip). Furthermore, he told me I’d be having a hip replacement sometime in my lifetime. Since they only last 20-30 years, I certainly don’t want one of those any time soon.

I’m not trying to make light of this at all. I’ve got friends with serious hip issues, and I watched my big brother, the Bag Whore, suffer through a year of pain and then hip replacement. (Which was followed by a turbo-sexy girdle and crutches for a few months.) Hip issues hurt.

I rationalized for a while: I didn’t have any of what they had.

Sure, my hip periodically felt like it was out of line and I’d be out of my mind with pain shooting down my right leg until my chiro slammed it back in. But. I’d forgotten about all the fleeting moments over the last few decades when my right hip has ached, clicked or just shot pain in several directions.

Whoopsie.

Last month, when my appointment finally came up with the great hip guy, he said: “Your x-rays do not say hip replacement.” [Suh-weet!]

When I asked him what they did say, he moved my legs around in ways not even my husband has tried, and said: “I think you have a labral tear.”

“Excuse me, what?” (I asked twice because I heard something that sounded a lot like what one might hear at the gynecologist’s office.)

“Your labrum,” he said. “It helps attach your leg into your hip socket. I think you tore it, which happens a lot with hip dysplasia. We need to do an MRA to be sure.” (That’s an MRI, where they inject your hip with super-special dye first.)

Many scans and probing needles to the hip later, it’s confirmed: I’ve got a Dog Hip with a Labral Tear. Doesn’t that sound sexy?

[Hub’s note: I really thought you’d say, “Don’t you just want to pat my head and give me a bone? IYKWIM…” Do you see why I married him? That man is funny.]

What this means is I’m now pacing around my house a LOT, and I’m mostly working standing up. It’ means I’ve learned how to give my hip traction by hanging my legs over one side of the couch with the rest of me upside down the other direction.

This means it’s almost a sure bet I’ll be having hip surgery in the next month. Although, since labral tears hurt, this will actually be kind of a relief. I’ll keep you posted on the developments as they occur.

On the up side: when I return to Crossfit, I’m exempted from running FOREVER.

(I’ll bet Kathy Owen just heard my cheers all the way over on the East Coast. I detest running. But at least now I know why I was always slower than a turtle dipped in molasses.)

The most important take-away for this post: If something hurts for a flipping year or more, go get it checked out!

Do you have any fun names for your bizarre body aches and pains? Any experience with a hip or shoulder labrum? Do you have experience with health issues you ignored that turned out to be more serious? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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56 Responses to Discovering “Dog Hip” — A Survival Guide

  1. I have hip issues also. (Arthritis)

    I am from Texas, do I have “Hound Dog Hip”?

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Doesn’t everyone from Texas have Hound Dog Hips??! And YOWIE to the arthritis. When they did my x-ray, the first thing everyone said was: “There’s no arthritis — you’re VERY lucky.” I can only imagine how bad that hurts.

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  2. I have one leg shorter than the other and it took five years to figure out why my hip hurt because the surgeons said there was nothing wrong. Thank God for chiropractors and osteopaths! Sorry you are heading for surgery, but at least you will feel better. And I love your husband looking at you with the “beady stare”! LOL They do that!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jessica, my hubs holds the beady stare for opportune times, so he gets maximum mileage out of it. It’s a gift.

      And one leg shorter than the other is painful! I’m surprised they didn’t offer to give you a special shoe or something. That’s serious stuff.

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  3. Diana Beebe says:

    Yikes! Sending you tons of good thoughts!

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  4. Jenny, sorry you are feeling bad, but glad you finally found out what the trouble was. I have had hip/lower back troubles for many years. X-rays, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatments, as was your experience, have only given me temporary relief, although when you’re in pain or can’t move (literally, as in bend down and you’re stuck!) any relief is appreciated. With this recent move from OK to KY I put it all over the edge. My new chiropractor tells me things like ‘retraining walking gait’ and ‘ilio psoas muscle is pulled’ but the snapping and my hip and quad going weak tells me maybe I should find a great hip guy like you did.

    Your husband is awesome! We ‘invincible super women’ need those good hubs who will give us ‘the stare’ when we need slow down and take care of ourselves. Sending (gentle) feel-better hugs.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      It is very true, that the beady-eyed stare is sometimes required, especially by busy stubborn women. But holy cannoli, what a painful thing to have your back get stuck!

      I’ve had issues with my psoas muscle since this hip thing started and they don’t call it the “So’ Ass” (said in best ghetto voice) for nothing. YOU feel better, girlfriend.

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  5. When I read “labral tear” my mind also zapped into OB/GYN territory. “Dang! A hurt hip can tear that?” And then I glared at my bad knee and forbade it to do anything to my hoo-hah area. Then I read the rest of your post and told my knee I was sorry for thinking badly of it.

    Ow, Jenny! I’m glad they found out what’s wrong and that it’s fixable. But I totally understand the whole putting off seeing the doctor thing. Mainly because I’ve found that doctors kind of stop listening to women when we reach “a certain age.” I have a chronic pain condition that all the doctors I’ve seen are either unwilling or unable to treat. They always end up wanting to put me on antidepressants, and start giving me these half-pitying, half-exasperated looks that say clearly that they either don’t believe me, or that they don’t want to admit they have no freakin’ clue what it is and no longer want to deal with it. Or me. After dealing with this near-constant pain in my chest wall and arm for almost 20 years I’ve kind of learned to live with it and no longer fear I’m dying when it gets really bad. It doesn’t make it hurt any less, but I’ve yet to find a doctor who shows any inclination to get to the bottom of it. So I deal with it on my own.

    Good luck with the hip surgery, and baby that labral tear until then!🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks for the belly laugh, Juli! Yep, them hoo-has are all powerful, aren’t they? You’ve got pain in your chest that goes down your arm and they look at you like you’re a freak? What about the fact that it sound like heart attack pain?!

      For Pete’s sake, that’s annoying to hear. Have you been to a Chinese doc? I swear they can do stuff with soft tissue that regular docs can’t even dream about fixing.

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    • Echoing Jenny here…thanks for the laugh! That was hilarious.😀

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  6. Julie Glover says:

    Hope all is better soon! I detest running as well, so I’d like one of those doctor notes too.

    By the way, i was born with my leg bones entirely out of the hip sockets, which doesn’t have a sexy name: subluxation of the hip. One ugly splint in infancy, even uglier corrective shoes, and I’m fine today — able to walk, run, and move my hips like Elvis. (Okay, maybe not like Elvis…)

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Wowzers, Julie! I read all up on kids like you when I found out about the hip dysplasia. Truly, I’m pretty lucky mine isn’t worse. I’m hoping they can PT me back to a full recovery when this is all over, and make it so I don’t tear again when I get back to the exercise realm.

      And really, isn’t it all about being able to dance like Elvis?

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  7. K.B. Owen says:

    So THAT’s what I was hearing! I thought my SoCal pal was cheering because she can finally grow potatoes successfully.😉 I just had to wince when I saw the picture of the tear. Ouch. I hate running, too. It’s funny that I’m just reading this today, after getting back from my walk. I decided to get my heart rate up by running for part of it. Yeah, only got to half a block before I thought I was gonna DIE.

    Let us know when you’re going in for surgery! We’ll have a Whoop-Ass party beforehand.😉

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I think the potatoes played and equal role, Kathy. I’m completely excited over those!! My advice on your daily walks, just go up and down a few hills.🙂

      You all will DEFINITELY hear when the surgery occurs. I’m having to drug up a lot to sleep because I just can’t stand the pain. So I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

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    • Kathy, I’m laughing with you. I get exhausted and start cramping up just thinking about running. At least you make it half a block. I only run when something scary is chasing me.

      Patricia Rickrode
      w/a Jansen Schmidt

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  8. Sue says:

    My doctor has told me I have bursitis, which totally makes me sound like an old bag. It comes and goes – usually flares up with running. See? Another reason not to run! In case you needed more convincing – ha! Glad you are taking care of it though. Your future body will thank you!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Why do all the “old bag” diseases have “B” names, Sue? Bunions, bursitis….whassup with that? And yes, I think this post should be a public service message to never run when you can walk.🙂

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  9. Amy Shojai says:

    Yowchie! You KNOW I had to read about doggy hip-hip-hurray kinds of stuff, but wish it wasn’t so painful. Glad you’ve got a diagnosis and a fix in your future.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Amy! And I did think about you when I wrote the title. What do you know about real-live Doggie Hip issues? Any cool articles I can read? I want to see if there’s parallels.

      Like

  10. ericjbaker says:

    That is a common injury in hockey goalies. Have you been secretly playing ice hockey? Don’t you think it’s time your husband knows the truth?

    Hmmm?

    Isn’t being 40+ great! I have a harder time listing things that don’t hurt.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Wouldn’t it be rad to be a secret hockey goalie?! I love that idea. But nope, it was probably Crossfit that helped expose the hip dysplasia, and tear the labrum. And the Hubs is the one that dragged me there for some good torture.🙂

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  11. Well you sure know how to have a good time. Dog hip? Really? They couldn’t come up with a better nickname than that? (By the way, why is knick knack with a “K” but nickname not?”) Sorry ADD moment.

    I’m thinking we should change that dog hip nickname to something much more exciting. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but I’m sure Gloria Richard can come up with some fun, sexy, creative term for it. And I’d tell everyone it’s an old pole dancing injury or some injury you sustained while belly dancing. Don’t offer any other explanation, just let people draw their own conclusions.

    I’m glad you got it checked out and that you’re going to do something about it. Surgery isn’t fun, but it’s usually a fantastic way to end misery and suffering. Hang in there. Oh, and running sucks. I’m jealous. I have no excuse not to run, other than I’m lazy.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Pole dancing! That’s a MUCH better story. Thanks, darling Patricia. I’m much happier with that explanation. Although Eric’s is good too. Perhaps Alpine skiing should be thrown in.

      Although, Gloria will pop by an say, “She had an unfortunate moment on the mechanical bull at Billy Bobs…IYKWIM.”

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  12. My issues are all with my back and neck.
    A pinched nerve in my neck once made my arms go completely numb. The first time it happened was when I was driving (!) Now I just have to be aware and get the wheat bag and Advil out when I start feeling a little stiff. Which reminds me … There. That’s better. Just got back from yoga, and while I love it, tonight’s work has left me feeling a little too “open” in the neck and shoulders.
    I used to throw my back out all the time. And I was active, walking, swimming, karate, rowing. What fixed it? A breast reduction. TMI, I know, but we’re all friends here, right? I guess the double d’s were overbalancing me😉 Cs are much more comfortable, and, as the menfolk say, anything more than a handful is a waste, non?
    Now, however, after years of sitting all day at work, and then coming home to sit at the computer writing and doing the social media, I have no core strength. I threw my back out last month for the first time in … I don’t know how long. Hence the yoga. I bought myself an adjustable desk for my home office and I’m training myself. I can only stand for about an hour before my feet and knees start aching (aw, c’mon–I’m not that old). I sit for a bit and then stand again.
    Mentioned it to my manager and she’s going to help me get an adjustable desk at work too (love my manager).
    Plus I’ve recently started massage therapy. Painful, but effective.
    So that’s me.
    Sorry to hear about your hip woes. Hope everything goes well and that you won’t have to get that hip replacement any time soon.
    I’m with you on the running. Actually, I call it puff-a-lumping, the way I do it😛 I tried it a few years ago and I never got the runner’s high everyone talks about. I gave it up when my dad got sick and have never felt the urge again.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Shut the front door! Your boobs threw your back out?! I am so using all these idea in a future post. This is ROCKSTAR.

      And I’m a huge fan of the adjustable desks. Everyone I know who has used them loves them.🙂

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  13. karenmcfarland says:

    Sorry I’m late Jenny. It’s been a crazy week with the hubster. Whoa. You’re having surgery within the month??? Holy Cowbell! I know you had told me about the “Dog Hip” and test. You may have told me about the surgery, but with everything going on here, I may have zoned out. I’m so sorry my dear friend. Surgery sucks. Keep me posted and let me know if there is anything that I can do.
    ((Hugs!))

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  14. You do know how to keep life interesting, Jenny. Shingles, this, and I think there was something else (?…it’s 4:30 in the morning, I’m done thinking for the day). You’re just getting it all out of the way so when retirement rolls around, you can enjoy it – because you got all of the health issues out of the way in your 40s.😀

    Hope your surgery is successful and your recovery time is even more so.

    I hurt my hip in that car accident. Fortunately, a series of stretches keeps it pretty pain-free … when I behave and do them like I ought to anyway. My first indication that I’ve been slacking off happens while waiting in line at a store. For whatever reason, just standing hurts far more than walking. But not if I do the stretches. I need a personal trainer to visit every day. A sexy personal trainer. A sexy guy…😀

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Seriously, Kristy….I only get the weird stuff. My kid gave me frigging CROUP, for crying out loud. I think like 6% of adults get croup ever. So yep, I’m hitting it all now. Best news I’ve had all month: I can finally get the shingles faccine next month because my kid is fully vaccinated for chicken pox.🙂

      And of course you need a sexy personal trainer (of the opposite sex) to come by every day! Who doesn’t? LOL.

      Like

      • I’m not laughing. I promise (fingers crossed behind my back). Croup? Wow, I think you’re the only adult I’ve ever known who’s had that. (still not laughing…)

        I really hope you’ve hit on your last health crisis for a while. I really think you’ve had more than your fair share. In fact, you’ve probably had the fair share for several people, who are probably grateful that it all hit you instead of them.😀

        And yes, I need that trainer. There are some stretches that are easier done with another person.😀

        Like

  15. Sorry to hear you’re going through this pain. My gal’s mom just had hip replacement surgery. She was out of the hospital after two days and right into therapy. She recovered pretty quick. The advancements with this procedure makes it imperative to use the therapy and get back to normal quickly. I’m sure you will be fine.

    I’m with you about running. Even though I hate it I must do it for Tough Mudder in July. After that no more running! Well, maybe.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, except for the fact that you have to do it again in 20 years, hip replacement is supposed to be a cakewalk these days. Fixing a labral tear? Not so much… But at least I’ll get to keep MY hip for a long time to come. (With no running!!)🙂

      Like

  16. Ouch, ouch, ouch! You poor thing dealing with this pain for so long. Pain is not nice. I am known to avoid doctors because every time I go to one, they find something. If you don’t go, then all is ok….NOT.🙂 Glad you listened to your hubby.

    I won’t go through the long list of my issues, This is your time to vent! And vent you shall do!🙂

    Hang in there and we will all help you through it! In fact, I’m sending some virtual chicken soup to you right now.🙂🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL. This is More Cowbell, girlie…you can ALWAYS vent. And if you’ve got “things,” you really should go to a healer of some sort. It feels better on the other side of things.🙂

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  17. Wow, Jenny! Thank goodness you got that checked out! I’m sorry you have to have surgery but thank goodness you didn’t just keep going to the chiro! I’m looking forward to some good posts about your progress and I couldn’t agree with you more about running. It’s not for me either. I can hike until the cows come home but running is just no fun!!!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m with you, Patricia! I can walk 5-10 miles without a hitch (except right now), but PLEASE don’t make me run. I suck at it. I was pretty happy about that part.🙂

      The fix is gonna hurt like a mother, but then it will be done. I’ll certainly find something to poke fun at, since that’s the way I roll…

      Like

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  20. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    You’re too young for this. Crazy. I’m double jointed (which there’s no such thing, it’s actually loose joints), and it’s saved me from spraining my ankle many times and probably all kinds of other injuries. I get low back pain off and on, but not bad enough to see a doc. My legs swell up, and thanks to you, I now wear compression socks if I’m going to be on my feet for long.

    Yes, your hubby is a funny guy. Love his sense of humor!

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