• By Cory Pedersen

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Genetics connects family members at the hip

September 19, 2021

Before they went through testing at Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Barbara Domaille, Deborah Neville, Pamela Neville, and Rylie Ronnenberg thought there could be a genetic connection to the hip problems they shared. After the testing, they knew for sure. 


As family members, Barbara Domaille, Deborah Neville, Pamela Neville, and Rylie Ronnenberg share many things in common that they treasure, and only one they wish they didn’t: a hip abnormality called femoroacetabular impingement.

After undergoing genetic testing at Mayo Clinic, the four women learned that their collective hip woes were caused by a hidden genetic connection. And although that knowledge may not change how their condition is managed, it does offer some relief from nagging concerns. It also may provide researchers with information that could help others.

“We said yes [to testing] to try and stop some other family from having to go through this, because it’s not fun,” Deborah says. “We also wanted an answer to a question that’s been in the back of our minds for a while: ‘Is this something that genetics is causing to happen?’” 

Four generations of pain

Deborah’s daughter, Pam, followed in her mother’s and grandmother’s unfortunate footsteps after her hips “literally went out” while playing coed softball in her 30s. “That’s when I knew I needed to have hip surgery, too,” Pam says.

Hip impingement occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit together properly. Over time, the restricted motion caused by hip impingement can damage cartilage and cause pain and arthritis. For great-grandmother Barbara, the condition eventually led to the need for hip replacement surgery, as it did for her daughter Deborah. “I have actually had both of my hips replaced,” Deborah says.

Read the rest of the story on the Mayo Clinic Laboratories site.

This story is part of the Patient Spotlight series that showcases the connection between the work done at Mayo Clinic Laboratories and its benefits to patients.