Hip dysplasia

What is hip dysplasia?

Developmental dysplasia of the hip, known as hip dysplasia, is the most common inherited hip defect in children. The hip joint is made up of a ball (femur) and socket (acetabulum) joint. In hip dysplasia, the ball may be loose and slip in and out of the socket or may completely come out of the socket — hip dislocation. In addition, the socket is often shallow. This can increase a child’s risk of developing arthritis and joint pain later in life.

The exact cause is unknown, but possible risks include family history, being female or first-born and breech birth.

Signs of hip dysplasia

Symptoms of hip dysplasia can be subtle and may not be recognized until later in life. Signs that may signal hip dysplasia in a child:

  • The leg on the side of the dislocated hip may appear shorter or turn outward.
  • The folds in the skin of the thigh or buttocks may appear uneven.
  • The space between the legs may look wider than normal.
  • Feeling a “clunk” when changing your child’s diaper

Diagnosis

Babies often are screened for signs of hip dysplasia. Your family pediatrician may make the diagnosis during an exam. If a child goes without symptoms until he or she is older or a teenager, they may need tests including X-ray, MRI or a CT scan to confirm the condition.

How to care for hip dysplasia

If your child has hip dysplasia, our providers can work with you to come up with a treatment plan that will support your child every step of the way. The treatment goal is to put the head back into the socket of the hip and to make sure the socket is deep, so the hip can develop normally.

Treatment plans will be based on:

  • Your child’s age, current health and health history
  • The level of condition
  • How your child reacts to certain medicines, procedures and therapy
  • Parental preference

Treatment options may include:

  • Pavlik harness (for babies up to 6 months old)
  • Abduction brace (6 months old and older)
  • Body casting, also called spina casting
  • Surgery, such as VDRO or Salter pelvic osteotomy

Our team

Jennifer M. Brey, M.D.
Laura K. Jacks, M.D.
Joshua W. Meier, M.D.
James E. Moyer, M.D.
Star L. Nixon, M.D.

Orthopedics – 5678

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Connect with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville.

(502) 394-5678

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