What is developmental dysplasia of the hip?
Developmental dysplasia of the hip is a disorder of abnormal development of the hip joint. This means that the hip joint, which is a ball and socket joint, does not form well. It is a spectrum of disease, in which the ball part of the hip joint may be (partially or completely) out of the socket. If this problem is not addressed early, the hip joint will continue to develop abnormally. Ultimately, this can lead to pain and arthritis at a young age.
Developmental dysplasia of the hip can affect one side or both hips. Girls are more likely affected than boys. First-borns and breech babies also have a higher chance to get developmental dysplasia of the hip.
What are symptoms and signs of developmental dysplasia of the hip?
Developmental dysplasia of the hip does not cause pain in babies but doctors routinely check the hips of all new-borns and babies during well-being exams for signs of developmental dysplasia of the hip. Signs to look out for include:
- popping or clicking sounds during hip movement
- unequal leg length
- limited range of motion
- the skin folds under the buttock or on the thigs do not line up
- walking with a limp
How is developmental dysplasia of the hip diagnosed?
Most cases of developmental dysplasia of the hip are detected during routine screening. Doctors will perform special tests during the physical examination. Imaging such as ultrasound, X-ray and/or MRI are also used to diagnose developmental dysplasia of the hip.
How is developmental dysplasia of the hip treated?
Treatment aims to allow for normal development of the hip joint. Treatment options depend on the age of the child and may include bracing, a manoeuvre (known as reduction) either with or without surgery with subsequent casting. In severe cases, more extensive surgery may be required on the pelvic bone.
What can I expect if my child has developmental dysplasia of the hip?
Recognizing and treating developmental dysplasia of the hip early usually means better outcomes. Many infants treated for developmental dysplasia of the hip develop into active kids that have no hip problems. Regular check-ups with your orthopaedic surgeon throughout growth are advised to monitor the hip development.
If left untreated, severe complications including hip pain and arthritis at a young age may occur.
Dr. Gurpal Singh
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
- Specialist in Orthopaedic Oncology, Joint Replacement and
- Robotic-assisted Surgery
- Centre for Orthopaedic Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery
- Centre for Orthopaedics and Hip and Knee Surgery
- MBBS (S’pore), MRCSEd, M Med (Ortho)
- FRCSEd (Ortho), FAMS (Orthopaedics)