n What Is Hip Dysplasia? - AOA Orthopedic Specialists

A hip socket that does not entirely encompass the ball section of the upper thighbone is referred to as having hip dysplasia by medical professionals. This makes it possible for the hip joint to become partially or fully dislocated. The majority of persons who have hip dysplasia have the problem from birth.

Shortly after the baby is born and during well-baby checkups, the infant will be examined for any signs of hip dysplasia. If hip dysplasia is detected in an infant at a young age, a flexible brace may be able to treat the condition successfully.

Those with milder forms of hip dysplasia will start experiencing symptoms once they are in their teens or early 20s. Hip dysplasia can cause damage to the cartilage that lines the joint, and it can also cause damage to the soft cartilage (labrum) that rims the socket area of the hip joint. Both of these types of cartilage can be injured. A hip labral tear is the medical term for this condition.

It may be necessary to do surgery on older children and young people to realign the bones to allow for more fluid joint movement.

The Symptoms

The signs and symptoms change depending on the age group. In infants, it is possible to observe that one of their legs is noticeably longer than the other. When a youngster first starts walking, there is a risk that they will acquire a limp. When changing diapers, one hip may be less flexible than the other.

Hip dysplasia can lead to severe problems in adolescents and young adults, such as osteoarthritis or a hip labral tear. These complications can be unbearable. This could result in groin pain that is brought on by activities. You may feel as though your hip is unstable in certain circumstances.


When a baby is born, the hip joint is formed of cartilage, but over time, that cartilage transforms into bone. Because they serve as molds for one another, the ball and socket must have a good fit when they are combined. If the ball is not pressed down forcefully into the socket, the socket will not be able to shape itself around the ball ultimately, and it will end up being at an inappropriately shallow depth.

When the baby is in its final month of development, the space inside the womb can become so congested that the hip joint ball can shift out of its normal position, causing the socket to grow shallower. This can happen during the final month before delivery. Some of the factors that can cause the amount of room in the womb to be reduced include: 

  • Being the first pregnancy 
  • Having a large baby 
  • Having the baby present in a breech position

Risk Factors

Hip dysplasia typically runs in families and affects females more frequently than males. The risk of hip dysplasia also increases in infants swaddled tightly with their hips and knees kept in a straight position and infants born in the breech position.


Hip dysplasia is a condition that can cause damage to the soft cartilage (labrum) that surrounds the socket area of the hip joint later in life. A hip labral tear is the medical term for this condition. Hip dysplasia and an increased risk of osteoarthritis in the hip joint are correlated. This happens because more significant contact pressures are distributed over a more condensed socket area. This causes the bones to lose the smooth cartilage that lets them glide against each other when the joint moves over time, which causes the joint to wear out.

How do Doctors Determine Whether Someone Has Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia can be diagnosed by a hip surgeon in Dallas using a combination of a physical examination and various imaging studies. Tell your healthcare practitioner when you first felt discomfort in your hip and whether certain activities worsen the pain.

Your child will be examined for hip dysplasia as soon as they are born and at each well-child appointment by their healthcare professional.

What Kind of Treatment is there for Hip Dysplasia?

Your healthcare physician will likely recommend therapies for hip dysplasia that both alleviate the pain you are experiencing and safeguard the hip joint. The following are some of the most prevalent treatments for hip dysplasia:

Putting on a brace: In some cases, infants must wear a harness or brace to keep their hips in the correct position. When their body is growing and developing, this will ensure that their joints remain in the right place. In most cases, the only treatment necessary for your child to correct dysplasia is using a brace, which is especially true if they begin treatment earlier than six months of age. The majority of infants will require the use of a brace for several months.

Physical therapy: A physical therapist will guide you through stretches and exercises designed to increase your flexibility and build stronger muscles surrounding your hip joint.

Hip dysplasia surgery: If alternative therapies for hip dysplasia are unsuccessful, your hip surgeon in Dallas may suggest that you have surgery to repair the condition. Hip osteotomies and hip arthroscopies are the two surgical treatments for hip dysplasia performed most frequently. Osteotomy is a type of surgery that involves realigning and reshaping the patient’s bones. Hip arthroscopy is a procedure that requires only a small incision and can repair damage that has occurred within the hip joint. Hip replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, may be necessary for patients who suffer from severe hip dysplasia and arthritis. Your surgeon will discuss the procedure required for you or your kid and what you can anticipate from the procedure.


Is it Possible to Avoid Hip Dysplasia?

There is no way to prevent hip dysplasia from developing in your child before birth. You cannot stop it from happening to yourself, either. Talk to your child’s healthcare practitioner about how you may help safeguard their developing hips while they are still growing. They will be able to provide you with advice that will help you avoid placing an excessive amount of strain on your baby’s joints.

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