Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
What is developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)?
Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a hip problem a baby is born with or that happens in the first year of life. In this condition, the top of the thighbone doesn't fit securely into the hip socket. This problem may affect one or both hip joints.
In a normal hip, the thighbone fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket in the pelvis, and it is held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. But in DDH, the hip socket may be too shallow or the tissues around the joint may be too loose.
It's important to get DDH treated early. The longer it goes on, the more likely it is to cause long-term hip problems.
What causes DDH?
The exact cause of DDH is not known. But some things can raise your child's chances of having it, including:
What are the symptoms?
DDH isn't painful, and your baby may not have any obvious signs of a hip defect. But some babies with this problem may have:
A child who is walking may:
How is DDH diagnosed?
It is usually diagnosed during a newborn's physical exam. A doctor will move the baby's legs and look and listen for signs of a problem.
If your baby is older, your doctor may diagnose DDH during the physical exam at a well-baby checkup. But it may be hard to diagnose in a baby more than 1 to 3 months old. That's because the only outward sign may be a hip joint that is less mobile or flexible than normal.
How is it treated?
Your child's hip socket won't form and grow properly if the ball at the top of the thighbone doesn't fit snugly in the joint. So treatment focuses on moving the thighbone into its normal position and keeping it in place while the joint grows.
Your child may need:
Other forms of treatment that may be needed include:
If treatment is successful, your child probably won't have any further hip problems. But get your child's hips checked regularly to make sure they continue to grow and develop normally.
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