Delopmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH)
Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) refers to an abnormality in the ball-and-socket joint. It is usually identified at birth or during a routine infant wellness exam, although in some cases it only becomes noticeable when the infant begins to walk with an uneven, waddling gait. Left untreated, it can cause osteoarthritis and uneven leg length. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to the infant's prognosis.
DDH is most likely to occur in infants who are:
- Born in the breech position
- Afflicted with foot or knee deformities
- Descended from a family with a history of DDH
- Gestated in abnormally low levels of amniotic fluid
DDH is treated by stabilizing the hip joint, allowing tightening of the loose ligaments and keeping the hip immobilized until it heals. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, depending on the age of the child and the severity of the condition. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
- A soft Pavlik harness (for children under six months)
- A brace
- A hard cast made of plaster or fiberglass (for children older than six months)
- Closed reduction (manual manipulation of the hip joint performed under anesthesia)
- Open surgery on the hip
Follow-up examinations are important in preventing and treating any complications that may arise.
To learn more about pediatric orthopaedic conditions, please refer to the following organizations: