Development Of Infant Hip Dysplasia

During pregnancy, the unborn baby is at risk of developing complications. One of them is the DDH (Developmental dysplasia of the hip), a condition associated with the manner in which the hip of the baby is formed prior to, during or after birth; hence, resulting in a weak hip. In more serious infant hip dysplasia cases, the hip joint may dislodge or lead to mobility difficulties.

While mild hip dysplasia in babies can improve without being attended to during growth, serious cases may call for medical attention with support or surgery to relocate the hip and enable apposite healing.

If you are a mother, you may have observed the doctor examining the hips for any signs of DDH during normal checkups.

This is important as establishing and finding a solution to the condition earlier will give the child an opportunity to grow without experiencing joint, muscles and skeletal issues along their growth path.

What Transpires During Hip Dysplasia Infant?

Well, the hip basically a ball-and-socket joint, where the “ball” forms the femoral head (rounded top of the thighbone) and the “socket” is acetabulum (the cup-shaped bone housing the ball).

During mild hip dysplasia in babies, the ball gently moves to and fro within the socket leading to a rickety hip.

Conversely, in severe cases, the ball is dislodged and completely moves out of the socket.

But when the condition becomes extremely severe, the ball may fail to reach its designated place within the socket.

The most encouraging part concerning hip dysplasia infant cases is that they are seldom, with only 1 in 1000 babies being affected.

Yet to some extent, the condition may occur in 1 out of 3 newborns with girls being on the receiving ends as compared to boys.

What Causes DDH?

Well, there is no clear explanation regarding DDH causes; however, experts bear the belief that quite a number of things could be involved.

Thus, an infant may be susceptible to DDH because of:

Being Confined Within The Uterus

The unborn (fetus) may contract DDH in case there is no free space to allow for mobility within the womb.

Mostly, this occurs within the initial pregnancies as at that time, the uterus is still constricted or in situations where the mother experiences low levels of amniotic fluid within the womb.

Breech Position

This occurs when the baby appears buttocks-first during birth.

As such, this may limit mobility inside the womb, particularly in a situation where the knees of the baby extend out with the feet close to the head – commonly referred to as “frank breech”.

Other Conditions

Newborns with position-related conditions inside the womb such as stiff neck (torticollis), inward curving of the foot (metatarsus adductus), and positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) are at a higher risk of developing DDH.

Birth-Related Hormones

The response of the baby to the hormones in the womb tasked with easing the ligaments during labor and birth, causing baby’s hips to soften and widen, may also lead to hip dysplasia infant.

Constricted Swaddling

During birth, having an infant tightly swaddled within the hips can, to some extent, lead to DDH. (During swaddling, the baby should always have some wiggle space for the legs, while the hips and knees are gently folded and twisted out.)

Do Baby Carriers Cause Hip Dysplasia?

Well, there exists no proof directly associating baby carries with hip dysplasia, articulates Dr. Price. But, the IHDI advocates for appropriate positioning for each and every child in order to ensure normal development of their hips.

In fact, he explains choosing an improper carrier can hurt a baby’s hip development.

As baby’s sockets are in immature stages. It seems by choosing a proper baby carrier can encourage hip development.

However, it’s recommended to choose a baby carrier that takes the pressure or support the baby’s hip rather than leaving or hanging legs straight downwards.



Signs And Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia

DDH is known to affect one part of the body, normally the left part.

The condition does not cause pain; thus, no visible symptoms.

In order to determine whether your newborn has DDH, the healthcare provider will try to observe the following signs:

  • During birth, a noisy “click” or blatant “clunk” during usual newborn check-ups.
  • Various lengths of legs
  • Irregularities within the fat folds of the thigh around the buttocks or groin
  • At the age of 3 months, irregularities in hip mobility and evident shortening of the leg affected.
  • In Older babies, any kind of exaggeration within the spinal curvature that could grow to cover up for the poorly developed hip.
  • Visible signs of limping in older babies.

Treatment Of Dysplasia

In case your baby develops DDH during birth, wearing a Pavlik harness (soft brace) for a period of between 6 and 10 weeks could help normalize the condition.

This allows the hips to develop properly. The soft brace will not cause a development delay in your baby.

In some cases, surgery may be required to relocate the femoral head into its housing (socket).

Bottom Line

Following infant hip dysplasia treatment, your newborn’s hips should be able to develop properly.

Your healthcare provider will examine the baby in case of any unusual conditions including arthritis.

While the condition may not be common, hip dysplasia infants can be extremely agonizing.

Well, as a parent you must be prepared to brave the challenge and do something to assist your baby.


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