In babies and children with DDH, the hip joint (“ball-and-socket”) has not formed normally. The ball is loose in the socket and may be easy to dislocate. DDH is most often present at birth during a child’s first year of life.
Babies whose legs are swaddled tightly with the hips and knees straight are noted as higher risk for developing DDH. It’s important for parents to learn how to swaddle their infants.
In all DDH cases, the hip socket is shallow, meaning that the Femur (Joint Ball) is completely out of the Hip socket and sometimes, the ligaments that help to hold the hip joint.
Dislocated: In the most severe DDH cases, the head of the femur is completely out of the hip socket.
Dislocatable: In these cases, the head of femur lies within the acetabulum, but during a physical examination it can easily be pushed out of the socket.
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- Legs of different lengths
- Uneven skin folds on the thigh
- Less mobility or flexibility on one side
- Toe walking or a waddling, Limping
- First-born children
- Babies born in the breech position (It’s recommended ultrasound DDH screening of all female breech babies).
- Family history of DDH (parents or siblings)
When DDH is detected at birth, it can usually be corrected with the use of a brace or harness. If the hip is not dislocated at birth, the condition may not be noticed until the child begins walking. At this time, treatment is more complicated, with less predictable results. Consult your doctor immediately to find DDH in earlier stages.