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Hip Dysplasia

January 29, 2024 Staff

Topics - Developmental

Nature, Causes and Treatment of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in children, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), is a condition where the hip joint is not properly formed. This can range from a slightly shallow hip socket to a complete dislocation of the hip joint. Here are key aspects of hip dysplasia in children:


  • Shallow Hip Socket: The hip socket may not fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone, leading to partial or complete hip dislocation.

  • More Common in Females: DDH is more frequently observed in female infants.

  • Typically Present at Birth: It can be present at birth (congenital) or develop during a child's first year of life.


  • Genetic Factors: There's a hereditary aspect to DDH, with the condition more common in families with a history of hip dysplasia.

  • Position in the Womb: The baby's position, particularly breech presentation, can contribute to the development of DDH.

  • Environmental Factors: Factors such as swaddling methods can influence the risk of DDH.


  • Asymmetry in Thigh Folds: Uneven skin folds on the thighs or buttocks.

  • Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty spreading the legs apart for diaper changes.

  • Limping or Waddling Gait: In older infants and children who are walking.


  • Physical Examination: Pediatricians perform specific tests to check for DDH in newborns, like the Ortolani and Barlow maneuvers.

  • Ultrasound: Commonly used in infants up to six months old for a more detailed view of the hip joint.

  • X-Rays: Used in older infants and children to view the bone structure of the hip.


The treatment depends on the child's age and the severity of the dysplasia:

  • Pavlik Harness: Used in infants up to six months old to hold the hip in place while allowing some movement.

  • Bracing or Casting: In cases where the Pavlik harness is ineffective or for older infants.

  • Surgery: In more severe cases or in older children, surgical intervention may be necessary to correctly position the hip.


With early treatment, the prognosis for hip dysplasia is generally good, and most children develop normally and are able to lead active lives. Delayed diagnosis or treatment can lead to problems such as hip arthritis in later life.

Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare professional are crucial for managing DDH effectively. Early intervention is key to ensuring the best possible outcome for the child.

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