The hip is where the thigh bone and pelvis meet. The thigh bone has a ball-shaped top. This ball fits into a cup shape area on the pelvis. Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a problem with how these bones fit together. The exact problem can vary between children but may include:
The Hip Joint
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The exact cause of DDH is not known. Some factors that may play a role include:
Certain carrying or wrapping techniques may also affect the growth of the hip, especially methods that have the child tightly bound in a position with the hips straight out and turned in.
DDH is more common in females. Other factors that may increase your baby’s chance of developing DDH include:
DDH can make the hip unstable and loose. Symptoms may depend on the age of your child. They may include:
DDH more commonly affects the left hip. Sometimes both hip joints are affected. The condition may be detected when the baby is born.
Your child's doctor will look for signs of DDH during the first physical exam, and every exam in the first year. The hip will be stressed gently to see if it moves, or makes a clunking or popping noise. This may indicate a dislocating hip.
The hip may also be assessed with:
Detailed pictures of the hip may help confirm the diagnosis or determine treatment. The pictures can be made with:
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. Depending on your baby’s age and the severity of the condition, treatment options include:
If your baby was diagnosed with DDH at birth, the doctor may not treat the condition until the baby is older than two weeks. Early DDH may improve on its own.
The doctor will monitor the hip during follow-up exams and x-rays. This will be done until your child is done growing.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Institute of Child Health
Canadian Paediatric Society
Developmental dysplasia of the hip. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00347. Updated April 2009. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Developmental dysplasia of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 25, 2012. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Developmental dysplasia of the hip. Shriners Hospital for Children website. Available at: http://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/CareAndTreatment/Orthopaedics/HipDysplasia.aspx. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Hart ES, Albright MB, et al. Developmental dysplasia of the hip: nursing implications and anticipatory guidance for parents. Orthopaedic Nursing. 2006;25:100-111.
Shorter D, Hong T, et al. Screening programmes for developmental dysplasia of the hip in newborn infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;9:CD004595.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005; 599-600.
1/20/2015 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons clinical practice guideline on detection and nonoperative management of pediatric developmental dysplasia of the hip in infants up to six months of age. Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS); 2014 Sep 5. 368. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=48516#Section420. Accessed January 20, 2015.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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