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10/8/2020 Sophia Hogg

Hip Dysplasia

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is the medical terminology for a hip socket that does not fully cover the ball section of the upper thigh bone. This permits the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated. Most people with hip dysplasia are born with the state. Primary care physicians will check your baby for signs of hip dysplasia shortly after birth and during well-baby visits. If hip dysplasia is detected in early infancy, a soft brace could generally correct the problem.

Milder cases of hip dysplasia may not begin causing symptoms until and unless a person is a teenager or young adult. Hip dysplasia could affect the cartilage lining the joint, and it might also hurt the soft cartilage or labrum that rims the socket portion of the hip joint. This is known as hip labral tear. In older children and young adults, surgery might be required to move the bones into the proper positions for smooth joint movement.

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Signs and symptoms change by age group. In infants, you can notice that one leg is longer than the other. Once a child starts walking, a limp might develop. During diaper changes, one hip might be less flexible than the other. In teenagers and young adults, hip dysplasia might cause painful problems like osteoarthritis or a hip labral tear. This might cause activity-related groin pain. In some cases, you could experience a sensation of instability in the hip.



At birth, the hip joint is made of soft cartilage which slowly hardens into bone. The ball and socket require to fit together well because they act as molds for each other. If the ball is not placed securely into the socket, the socket will not fully form around the ball and will become too shallow.

During the last month before birth, the space within the womb could become so crowded that the ball of the hip joint moves out of its proper position that results in a shallower socket. Factors that might lower the amount of space in the womb include:

  • First pregnancy

  • Large baby

  • YBreech presentation

Risk factors

Hip dysplasia tends to run in families and is more common in women. The risk of hip dysplasia is also higher in babies born in the breech position and in babies who are wrapped tightly with the hips and knees straight.


Afterwards in life, hip dysplasia could damage the soft cartilage or labrum which rims the socket section of the hip joint. This is known as hip labral tear. Hip dysplasia might also make the joint more likely to develop osteoarthritis. This happens because of higher contact pressures over a smaller surface of the socket. Over time, this wears away the smooth cartilage on the bones which helps them glide against one another as the joint moves.



During well-baby visits, primary care physicians generally check for hip dysplasia by moving an infant's legs into a variety of positions which will help indicate whether the hip joint fits together well. Mild cases of hip dysplasia might be hard to diagnose and may not start causing problems until you are a young adult. If your primary care physician suspects hip dysplasia, he or she can recommend imaging tests, like X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Hip Dysplasia Treatment

Hip dysplasia treatment / therapy depends upon the age of the affected person and the level of the hip damage. Babies are generally treated with the help of a soft brace, like a Pavlik harness, which holds the ball portion of the joint firmly in its socket for several months. This helps the socket form into the shape of the ball. The brace does not work as well for infants older than six months.

Instead, the primary care physician might move the bones into the proper position and then hold them there for several months with a full-body cast. Sometimes surgery is required to fit the joint together properly. If the dysplasia is more serious, the position of the hip socket could also be corrected. In a periacetabular osteotomy procedure, the socket is cut free from the pelvis and then rearranged so that it matches up better with the ball.

Hip replacement surgery could be an alternative for senior citizens whose dysplasia has severely damaged their hips over time, resulting in debilitating arthritis.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from orthopedics related problems such as Hip dysplasia, the expert providers at Specialty Care Live take care of your health and help you recover.

Call 469-805-4561 to book a telehealth appointment for an at-home check-up. You can request a callback from us too.