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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
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.
The exact cause of DDH is not known. But some things can raise your child's chances of having it, including:
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:
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.
If the doctor suspects DDH but the results of a physical exam aren't clear, your child might need to have an imaging test of the hip joint, such as an ultrasound or X-ray.
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.
Other Works Consulted
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Developmental dysplasia of the hip. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 1050–1055. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Delahay JN, Lauerman WC (2010). Children's orthopedics. In SM Wiesel, JN Delahay, eds., Essentials of Orthopedic Surgery, 4th ed., pp. 173–251. New York: Springer.
Erickson MA, Caprio B (2014). Orthopedics. In WW Hay Jr et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 862–883. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Podeszwa DA (2011). Developmental dysplasia of the hip. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph's Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 852–856. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Price CT, Schwend RM (2011). Improper swaddling a risk factor for developmental dysplasia of hip. AAP News, 32(9): 11. DOI: 10.1542/AAPNEWS.2011329-11. Accessed November 25, 2013.
Sankar WN, et al. (2011). The hip. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 2355–2365. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Shah SA, Stankovits LM (2006). The hip. In FD Burg et al., eds., Current Pediatric Therapy, 18th ed., pp. 1016–1021. Philadelphia: Saunders.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2006). Screening for developmental dysplasia of the hip. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspshipd.htm.
White KK, Goldberg MJ (2012). Common neonatal orthopedic ailments. In CA Gleason, SU Devaskar, eds., Avery's Diseases of the Newborn, 9th ed., pp. 1351–1361. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.
Current as of:
February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope MD - PediatricsKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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