Kirsten Thompson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Read the other articles in our series here. Developmental dysplasia of the hip, sometimes termed congenital dysplasia or dislocation of the hip, is a chronic condition present from early childhood which can cause permanent disability if not identified and treated early.
Back to Health A to Z. Developmental dysplasia of the hip DDH is a condition where the "ball and socket" joint of the hip does not properly form in babies and young children. The hip joint attaches the thigh bone femur to the pelvis.
The hip is a "ball-and-socket" joint. In a normal hip, the ball at the upper end of the femur thighbone fits firmly into the socket, which is a curved portion of the pelvis called the acetabulum. In a young person with hip dysplasia, the hip joint has not developed normally—the acetabulum is too shallow to adequately support and cover the head of the femur.
The normal hip see figure is a ball and socket joint with the femoral head ball well-seated and stable within the acetabulum socket. Hip dysplasia includes a group of disorders that have deformities of the joint. When the femoral head is not completely covered by the acetabulum, the hip is unstable, may become painful and eventually develop osteoarthritis.
Hip dysplasia is a fairly common condition in both adolescents and adults. It ranges from being a barely detectable issue to a severe malformation that causes extreme pain and disruption to daily life. The following is basic yet important information to know in the event that you or family members are affected by this condition.
The problem can range from mild shallowness of the hip socket all the way to complete displacement of the hip joint. The condition has been recognized as far back as the time of Hippocrates in the fourth and fifth centuries B. However, because the condition is not always diagnosable at birth, sometimes appearing later in childhood, in adolescence or even adulthood, it has become known in recent years as developmental dysplasia of the hip, or DDH.
Hip dysplasia has long been known to be a risk factor for pain and degenerative changes in the hip joint. The diagnosis of dysplasia has historically been based on assessments of acetabular anatomy on the anteroposterior pelvic radiograph, most commonly the lateral center-edge angle. Recent advances in imaging of the dysplastic hip with computerized tomography scans have demonstrated that hip dysplasia is in fact a 3-dimensional D deformity of the acetabulum and that multiple patterns of hip instability exist that may not be completely assessed on 2D imaging.
Hip dysplasia is an abnormality of the hip joint where the socket portion does not fully cover the ball portion, resulting in an increased risk for joint dislocation. Risk factors for hip dysplasia include family history, certain swaddling practices, and breech birth. Many of those with mild instability resolve without specific treatment. About 1 in 1, babies have hip dysplasia.
Developmental dysplasia of the hip DDH is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems in newborns. It is also known as congenital hip dysplasia, but actually this is a misnomer. It is a developmental disease.
Hip dysplasia is the medical term for a hip socket that doesn't fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone. This allows the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated. Most people with hip dysplasia are born with the condition. Doctors will check your baby for signs of hip dysplasia shortly after birth and during well-baby visits.