Vol. 126 No. 1 (2022)
Original Article

The limping nuns. Two cases of hip dislocation in a medieval female monastery

Paola Saccheri
Section of Human Anatomy and History of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Udine, 33100 Udine
Luciana Travan
Section of Human Anatomy and History of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Udine, 33100 Udine
Published September 21, 2022
Keywords
  • hip joint,
  • developmental dysplasia,
  • lumbosacral transitional vertebra,
  • spondylolysis
How to Cite
Saccheri, P., & Travan, L. (2022). The limping nuns. Two cases of hip dislocation in a medieval female monastery. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 126(1), 81-91. https://doi.org/10.36253/ijae-13633

Abstract

We observed the upward displacement of the femoral heads in the skeletal remains of two females unearthed from the medieval cemetery of the monastery of Santa Maria in Valle, in Cividale del Friuli (North-Eastern Italy). Examination of bone vestiges suggests the diagnosis of hip dislocation as the consequence of developmental dysplasia of the hip. In addition, in the youngest subject the first sacral vertebra appears lumbarized and shows the unilateral defect of the right pars interarticularis. Developmental dysplasia of the hip is one of the most common congenital diseases of the musculoskeletal system in newborns. Findings suggest that the skeletons belong to two nuns, who perhaps enter monastic life precisely because of their pathology.

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