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Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), also known as hip dysplasia or congenital hip dislocation (CHD), is a developmental condition where a child is born with an unstable hip. It is an abnormal formation of the hip joint that occurs in the early stages of foetal development.
Hip dysplasia refers to insufficient coverage of the acetabulum (socket) over the femoral head (ball). This is a spectrum of disease:
Most people with hip dysplasia are born with the condition.
Signs and symptoms vary by age group.
In infants and children, you may notice:
Newborns are routinely screened for hip dysplasia. Hence, the condition is usually picked up by the neonatologist, and the newborn is referred for treatment thereafter.
In adults, hip dysplasia symptoms typically include anterior groin and lateral hip pain, painful clicks or a painful limp. This can be due to a hip labral tear, cartilage damage or osteoarthritis arising from hip dysplasia.
There may also be no symptoms of congenital hip dysplasia, which is why your child’s doctor will routinely test for the condition.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
Right before birth, the womb can become so crowded that it can cause the ball of a baby's hip joint to move out of its proper position. As newborn's hip joint is made up of soft cartilage which hardens into bone after birth, if the ball of the bone does not fit well together with the hip socket, the socket will not form fully around the ball. This results in a shallower socket and an unstable hip.
Factors that may affect the amount of space in the womb include:
Contributing factors include:
In a condition known as hip labral tear, hip dysplasia can result in damage to the soft cartilage (labrum) of the hip socket later in life.
Over time, higher contact pressures over the socket surface wear away the smooth cartilage that helps the bones glide over each other. As a result, osteoarthritis is more likely to develop in the joint.
Hip dysplasia cannot be prevented, which is why it is important to bring your child to regular check-ups so your doctor can identify and treat the condition as soon as possible.
You may want to verify that your doctor has examined your newborn for signs of hip dislocation before you leave the hospital following delivery.
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