What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a condition that patients are often born with. Hip Dysplasia is the most common form of abnormal development in newborns. Adults may be diagnosed with this condition without having experienced problems in childhood, but this is rare. It is widely accepted that this is a developmental condition that affects individuals from birth.
This chronic pain disorder is from abnormal development in the womb that leaves the joint with a shallow or mal-oriented socket. The head of the femur bone may also have an abnormal shape when hip dysplasia occurs. An average hip joint has a ball and socket shape where the femur fits perfectly into the pelvic bone. Dysplasia will leave the hip with overstretched ligaments and instability as the patient ages, and may lead to a dislocation of the hip joint. Hip Dysplasia is more common in females.
What causes hip dysplasia?
For infants, if the hip does not form correctly in the womb, they will most likely be born with hip dysplasia. The head of the thigh bone (femur) is loose within the socket of the hip joint. Most cases of adult hip dysplasia are because the patient did not receive treatment at an earlier age. So, an older patient may suffer from this condition, but it is more of a pediatric disorder. Genetics is the original cause of hip dysplasia. Children may start to develop hip pain as they grow and their growth can reveal the hip dysplasia diagnosis as well.
If your child is born with hip dysplasia, the doctor who delivers the baby will usually recognize this disorder. There are cases when hip dysplasia becomes more of a problem as the child ages. If you or your child have any of these symptoms, it may be an early sign of hip dysplasia:
- Limping whenever walking
- One leg appears to be longer than the other
- The hip and leg on one side are more stiff or sensitive
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How to treat hip dysplasia
Since hip dysplasia results from family genetics, it is difficult to completely prevent this type of hip pain. If you know that hip dysplasia is common in your family, your child has a higher risk of being born with hip dysplasia. Luckily, physicians can usually spot this condition early on so a treatment plan can take place. Parents should always monitor their child’s growth and bring their baby in for regular doctor’s appointments during their first year. It is difficult to prevent hip dysplasia, but much easier when it comes to treatment. Treatment for this condition will depend on several factors including the age of the patient and how far the disease has progressed. Treatment methods may include:
- A brace fitted for your baby may be used called a Pavlik harness to help encourage proper anatomical development of the hips
- In more advanced conditions and a failure of the Pavlik harness to correct the abnormality if a harness was attempted, surgical intervention may be necessary, consisting of a repositioning of the bones in order to better fit the head of the femur into the hip socket, an osteotomy (reshaping of the bone or bones), and in the most advanced cases a hip replacement may be indicated