What is Hip Dysplasia?

The human skeleton is a very complex and amazing foundation for your body. Considering what it endures every day to support normal routines such as walking, climbing stairs, sitting, standing, and all of the other demands that are required to live an active life. Various problems may create concern with this foundation, and hip dysplasia is one of those issues that should be treated by a hip surgeon.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

You may not have heard this term before, or you may have heard it in reference to your dog’s bone health, but hip dysplasia happens in humans as well. The syndrome is thought to be a genetic condition where the hip joint is misaligned, or an issue relating to the birth process where a baby was compressed in a way that injured the hip joint.

The ball of the femur bone should normally fit snugly in the hip socket, but in cases of hip dysplasia it is dislocated to some degree. Sometimes the cause is loose ligaments that cannot support the hip joint properly, and in other cases the hip socket is malformed in some way.

Diagnosis and Symptoms

In most cases of hip dysplasia in young children, a hip surgeon can diagnose it through a physical exam, an ultrasound, or an x-ray. Most often it does not cause a child any pain or noticeable problem, but as the child ages there may be signs of trouble, such as a subtle limp or unusual gait when they walk due to a slight difference in leg lengths, a result of the dysplasia. Eventually this can lead to issues as an adult, including osteoarthritis, chronic pain in the hip joint and even disability.


A hip surgeon ideally wishes to treat dysplasia as early as possible. A Pavlik Harness is a device that can be used on infants to keep the hip joint in place. Casting is sometimes used, as is traction, which uses pulleys and weights to stretch limbs in a way that will correct the hip abnormality. Last but not least is surgical correction, followed by a cast used during the healing period to immobilize the joint.

Hip dysplasia is a fairly common condition seen by a hip surgeon, and can impact your adult life significantly if not corrected. If your child has any signs of a hip abnormality, consult a hip surgeon right away.


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