About DDH

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) describes a spectrum of hip abnormalities ranging in severity from mild instability of a reduced hip to severe dysplasia in a complete and irreducibly dislocated hip. DDH is the most common pediatric hip condition, with 1-3% of all newborns diagnosed at birth [1,2].

As infant hip joints are made mostly of soft, pliable cartilage, rather than hard bone in adults, the femoral head can more easily become unstable and misaligned or dislocate completely. Clinical examination for hip instability is a universal standard; however, not all cases are detectable by this method, leading to potential missed diagnoses or late-presentations that are more difficult to treat [7-10].

Defined risk factors that have currently been deemed to warrant further screening and monitoring include breech presentation, family history of DDH or a clinical history of hip instability [11-14]. 

When detected during infancy, many patients are treated with a brace. There are wide variations in treatment, types of braces, and duration of brace wear. When dislocations are detected after the age of six months, surgery is generally the option, but there are differences in opinions on which surgical methods to perform and when. If left untreated, hip dysplasia may lead to early hip joint arthritis and complete dislocations may lead to life-long disability. Even when treated, DDH is a major cause of early hip replacement or osteoarthritis of the hip in young adults [14]. 

For more information on DDH prevention, screening, and treatment practices, please visit: hipdysplasia.org

Visit the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for tips on Hip-Healthy Swaddling.


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