Published: Mar. 12, 2013
Updated: Mar. 12, 2013
If your child has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, we know you may be upset. You may wonder why this happened, or if your child is in pain. Most infants don’t experience pain from hip dysplasia, although it can become painful later in life. Rest assured there is nothing you could have done to prevent it.
Instead, we want you to focus on what you can do to make sure your child receives the best possible treatment for his or her hip dysplasia as quickly as possible. That’s the only way to ensure your child develops a normal, pain-free hip through adulthood.
The experts at Duke Orthopedics are here to help. Our doctors offer a full range of services designed to detect and correct hip abnormalities from infancy to adulthood.
“When we detect hip dysplasia early, and start the appropriate treatment right away, we have the best chance to prevent permanent disabilities,” explains Robert Lark, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Duke Orthopedics.
Hip dysplasia occurs when the baby’s thighbone slips or dislocates from the hip socket. The joint that normally holds the thighbone in place may be loose or the ligaments and soft tissues surrounding the joint don’t hold it in place.
Hip dysplasia occurs in roughly 1 in 1000 people, and is 30 times more likely to occur when there is a family history. There are several theories to explain why it may happen. A baby in breech position during pregnancy may have extra pressure on its hips and knees. Pregnancy hormones can make mom’s joints lax, and some babies are susceptible to those hormones when they pass through the birth canal.
Hip dysplasia is typically diagnosed during a routine checkup. The doctor may notice one leg is longer than the other, or feels a distinct “click” or “clunk” when testing the hip’s range of motion. As children start to walk, hip dysplasia is usually diagnosed when an abnormal gait is noticed.
When hip dysplasia is caught early, a brace – known as a Pavlik harness – will stabilize the hip joint while the baby grows. The brace is worn for several months and requires frequent doctor visits to ensure it is fitted correctly and that progress is being made. Your doctor may also want your baby to have an ultrasound to make sure the hip remains in the right position.
If hip dysplasia is diagnosed in an older child, surgery may be necessary to set the hipbone correctly in the socket. Occasionally, multiple surgeries are necessary as the child grows and develops.
Call 888-ASK-DUKE to make an appointment. Our team of experts can diagnose your child’s condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment to ensure your child lives a normal life with a pain free hip into adulthood.