Developmental and Mild Dysplasia of the Hip

Developmental and Mild Dysplasia of the Hip

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is an issue with the method a baby’s hip joint forms before, during, or after birth– triggering an unstable hip. In severe cases, the hip joint can dislocate or cause difficulty walking.

Mild cases of DDH generally get better on their own as a baby grows. More severe cases might need treatment with a brace or surgery to reposition the hip and permit proper recovery.

At your baby’s checkups, the doctor will take a look at the hips to try to find DDH. Identifying and treating the problem early will assist a child avoid muscle, joint, and skeletal issues down the road.

It is essential to get DDH dealt with early. The longer it goes on, the most likely it is to cause long-lasting hip issues.

What Happens in DDH?

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The “ball” is the rounded top of the thighbone (the femoral head); the “socket” is a cup-shaped bone that the ball suits (the acetabulum).

When a child has a mild case of DDH, the ball moves back and forth a little in the socket, causing an unstable hip. In more severe cases, the ball becomes dislocated and moves totally from the socket. In the most severe cases, the ball may not even reach the socket where it ought to be kept in location.

Hip dislocations are relatively unusual, impacting simply 1 in 1,000 newborns. Nevertheless, some degree of hip instability takes place in as lots of as 1 in 3 babies. Girls are most likely than kids to have hip dislocations.


The causes of DDH aren’t entirely understood, however specialists think that numerous things are involved. A baby can be at risk for DDH due to:

  • Bring cramped in the uterus. A fetus can develop DDH when there is less space to move inside the womb. This is most likely to happen in first pregnancies when the uterus is tight, or in pregnancies where there is less amniotic fluid in the womb.
  • Breech position. Remaining in the breech position (butts dealing with the birth canal) can restrict movement in the womb, particularly when the baby’s knees extend out with the feet near the head (called “frank breech”).
  • Other conditions. Babies born with conditions that are brought on by their position in the womb, like metatarsus adductus (an inward curving of the foot), torticollis (stiff neck), and flat head syndrome (positional plagiocephaly), are more likely to develop DDH.
  • Birth hormonal agents. DDH likewise may be triggered by a baby’s response to the mother’s hormonal agents that relax the ligaments for labor and delivery, causing the baby’s hip to soften and extend during labor.
  • Tight swaddling. After birth, swaddling a newborn too tightly around the hips can sometimes cause DDH. (When swaddled, a baby must still have some wiggle room for the legs, with hips and knees bent somewhat and ended up.)

Developmental and Mild Dysplasia of the Hip

Symptoms and signs

DDH normally affects only one side of the body, usually the left. Babies normally don’t feel any pain and don’t reveal any apparent symptoms. To identify it, physicians try to find these signs:

  • at birth, an audible “click” or palpable “clunk” during regular newborn checkups
  • various leg lengths
  • asymmetry in the fat folds of the thigh around the groin or buttocks
  • after 3 months, asymmetry in the movement of the hip and apparent shortening of the affected leg
  • in older kids, an exaggeration in the spine curvature that may establish to compensate for the unusually established hip
  • hopping in older children


A doctor can determine whether a hip is dislocated or most likely to become dislocated by carefully pressing and pulling on the child’s thighbones to see if they are loose in their sockets. In one typically used diagnostic test, a child lies on a flat surface and his/her thighs are spread out to check the hips’ variety of motion.

A second test brings the knees together and attempts to push the femoral head out of the socket. It is during these tests that the doctor will hear a “click,” which might indicate a dislocation. These maneuvers are done at routine checkups up until babies are walking normally.

Often a doctor will recommend an X-ray or ultrasound to obtain a much better view of a dislocated hip. X-rays (which just take photos of bones) are maded with older kids, while ultrasounds (which take images of bones and soft tissues) are much better for babies younger than 3 months old due to the fact that their hip tissue has not yet solidified into bone.


Treatment for DDH depends on the child’s age and the seriousness of the condition. Mild cases may correct themselves in the first few weeks of life. In most cases, however, the pediatrician will refer the child to see a bone expert (orthopedic cosmetic surgeon) for treatment.

If baby has an unstable hip that does not improve, a brace called a Pavlik harness will be used to hold the hip in position. This device keeps the femoral head in its socket by holding the knee up towards the child’s head. A shoulder harness attaches to foot stirrups to keep the leg elevated. The objective is to keep the femoral head in the hip socket. As a baby grows, this assists the hip joint to develop usually. Treatment with the Pavlik harness lasts about 6 to 12 weeks, and continues until the hip is steady and ultrasound examinations are regular.

Pavlik harnesses do not work in children over 6 months old. Kids who are older and continue to have DDH may need one of two types of surgery:

  1. A closed decrease, where the surgeons carefully put the hip back into location after the child is put under anesthesia. Then they put a cast on the body for 3-4 months to hold the bone in position. Doctors prefer this treatment in children under 18 months.
  2. An open reduction, in which the surgeons straighten the hip and location the thighbone back into the hip socket. During the procedure, doctors loosen up the tight muscles and tissues around the hip joint and then later on tighten them as soon as the hip is back in place. This is the best procedure for kids older than 18 months, or in cases when closed reduction doesn’t work.

After reaching age 2 or 3, a child might need surgery on the pelvis to deepen the hip socket (if it’s too shallow) or to shorten the thighbone or straighten it. After surgery, kids need to wear a hip spica cast (a type of body cast that keeps the hips from moving). The cast usually is needed for a number of months, depending upon the child’s condition.


When DDH is recognized early and dealt with properly, most children develop usually and have no associated issues.

DDH does not cause pain initially, but it may cause problems down the line, so it is necessary to treat it. Kids with without treatment DDH wind up having legs of irregular length in the adult years, and this can cause a limp or waddling gait, back and hip pain, and overall reduced agility.

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