A little girl who spent the first two years of her life with her legs in a harness and casts after being born with a severe form of hip dysplasia is now living life to the max and has even inspired a book. 

Athena Phillips was just two weeks old when doctors discovered she had the condition. Without treatment she would have grown up in pain and struggled with sport.

But, thanks to doctors at University Hospital Southampton, she is now an active eight-year-old, enjoying paddle boarding and winning sports day races.

READ MORE: £3 million fertility clinic opens in Chandlers Ford

Now Athena’s remarkable recovery has become a story book, written by her English teacher mum Alexa, who hopes it will help other children with the condition.

The rhyming book follows Athena's journey, from going to sleep in surgery to time spent in a spica cast, an unusual-shaped cast that covers legs, waist and abdomen and was nicknamed ‘Athena’s Magic Trousers.’

Daily Echo: Athena during treatment at UHS

Mum, Alexa, from Ringwood, said: “That’s where the idea of the story came from. We called them Athena’s Magic Trousers as they were there to make everything better, and I want to reassure other children and families that everything will be ok.

"The book is also a thank you to the team that have cared for Athena. If we hadn’t received the treatment we had, she certainly wouldn’t be the child she is today."

Daily Echo: Alex Aarvold, Athena Phillips and Alexa Phillips with the new book

Consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Alex Aarvold added: “Athena is doing brilliantly, and it is such a joy to see her charging around normally. Without this treatment she would be limping, getting worsening pain and be limited in all these activities that she now excels at. The operation though is a major thing to go through, for child and parent alike. This book gives such a beautiful child-friendly description of the surgical journey – far better than I can ever describe it to families.”

Athena said: “I am really happy that children will get to read my book. I want it to help them not be worried. I hope their magic trousers work like mine did.”

Daily Echo: Athena during treatment at UHS

The first copy of the book, illustrated by local artist Sarah Downes, has been handed to a UHS patient.