Hip Dysplasia

Patient Education

 What Is Infant Hip Dysplasia?


Infant hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), is a condition where the hip joint does not properly form during infancy. In DDH, the ball and socket of the hip joint may be partially or completely dislocated, leading to instability and potential long-term complications if not diagnosed and treated early. This condition can range from mild to severe and may affect one or both hips. Early detection and intervention are crucial to ensure proper development of the hip joint and prevent complications such as osteoarthritis and hip deformity later in life.

What Can Cause Infant Hip Dysplasia?

Causes or risk factors of Infant Hip Dysplasia include:
  • Abnormal positioning of the fetus in the womb, such as breech presentation, which can place increased pressure on the developing hip joint and affect its formation.
  • Genetic factors, as DDH may run in families and certain inherited traits may predispose infants to hip dysplasia.
  • Maternal factors, including a history of hip dysplasia or other musculoskeletal abnormalities, maternal hormone levels during pregnancy, and maternal age. Environmental factors, such as swaddling techniques or baby carriers that place excessive stress on the infant’s hips and affect hip development.
  • Gender, as females are more commonly affected by DDH compared to males.
  • Conditions that increase ligament laxity, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Down syndrome, which may increase the risk of hip dysplasia.
These factors can contribute to the development of infant hip dysplasia and may increase the likelihood of a child being born with this condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Infant Hip Dysplasia?

Symptoms of Infant Hip Dysplasia may include:

  • Asymmetry of the folds or skin creases in the buttocks and thighs, with one side appearing higher or more prominent than the other.
  • Limited range of motion in the affected hip joint, with restricted abduction or limited ability to spread the legs apart.
  • Clicking or popping sensations in the hip joint during movement, which may indicate instability or subluxation.
  • Uneven leg lengths or apparent leg length discrepancy, with one leg appearing shorter than the other.
  • Difficulty or discomfort with diaper changes, as the infant may resist movement or experience pain when the hips are manipulated.
  • Abnormal gait patterns or walking abnormalities in older infants and toddlers, if hip dysplasia is left untreated and leads to hip joint instability or deformity.

These symptoms can vary depending on the severity of hip dysplasia and the age of the infant, with some cases presenting early in infancy and others becoming apparent as the child grows and develops.

Is There Any Way To Prevent Infant Hip Dysplasia?

Preventing Infant Hip Dysplasia primarily involves early detection and intervention to promote proper hip joint development and prevent long-term complications. Strategies may include:
  • Routine screening for hip dysplasia during infancy, using physical examination techniques such as the Ortolani and Barlow maneuvers to assess hip stability and range of motion.
  • Avoidance of risk factors known to increase the likelihood of hip dysplasia, such as swaddling techniques that tightly bind the infant’s legs together or positioning devices that place excessive pressure on the hips.
  • Prompt evaluation and treatment of infants with risk factors for hip dysplasia, including breech presentation or family history of DDH, to facilitate early detection and intervention if hip dysplasia is present.
  • Educating parents and caregivers about the importance of proper hip positioning and safe babywearing practices to support healthy hip development during infancy.
  • Collaboration with healthcare professionals, including pediatricians, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists, to develop individualized treatment plans and monitor the progression of hip dysplasia in infants at risk.
By implementing these preventive measures and providing comprehensive care for infants with hip dysplasia, healthcare providers can help improve outcomes and quality of life for affected individuals.


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