The hip is commonly described as a “ball-and-socket” type joint. In a healthy hip, the ball at the top end of the thighbone, or femur, should fit firmly into the socket, which is part of the large pelvis bone. In babies and children with developmental dysplasia, or dislocation, of the hip, abbreviated as DDH, the hip joint may not have formed normally. As a result, the ball of the femur might easily dislocate and become loose from the socket.
Although DDH is often present from birth, it could also develop during a child’s first year of life. Recent research studies have demonstrated that infants whose thighs are swaddled closely with the hips and knees straight are at a higher risk for developing DDH. Because swaddling has become increasingly popular, it is essential for parents to understand how to swaddle their babies safely, and they should realize that when done improperly, swaddling may cause health issues such as DDH.
In addition to visual cues, when diagnosing for DDH, the healthcare professional will perform a careful evaluation, such as listening and feeling for “clunks” which indicates that the hip is placed in different positions. The doctor will also utilize other methods and techniques to determine if the hip is dislocated. Newborns recognized to be at higher risk for DDH are often tested using ultrasound. For babies and children, x-rays of the hip might be taken to provide further detailed images of the hip joint.
If DDH is discovered at birth, it can usually be treated with the use of a harness or brace. If the hip isn’t dislocated at birth, the condition might not be diagnosed until the child starts walking. At that point, treatment for DDH is much more complex, with less predictable results. If diagnosed and treated accordingly, children ought to have no restriction in function and develop the standard hip joint. DDH may result in atherosclerosis and other problems. It may produce a difference in agility or leg length.
In spite of proper treatment, hip deformity and osteoarthritis may develop later in life. This is particularly true when treatment starts after the age of 2 years. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment are essential in newborns and children with DDH. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
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