Reducing hip dysplasia risk factors

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 9:13 AM EDT
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Hip dysplasia is a condition where a person’s hip socket doesn’t completely cover the ball of one of their thigh bones. It’s usually something you’re born with, but there are some steps you can take to protect your child from developing this condition or making it worse. Ivanhoe reports.

Healthy hips are essential for moving around. But one out of every 1,000 babies are born with hips that don’t develop properly – a condition known as hip dysplasia.

“The reason why it’s a concern or the reason why it’s a problem is it’s the one of the leading causes of hip arthritis,” explained Joel Williams, MD, a hip surgeon and orthopedic trauma with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago.

While all newborns in the U.S. are screened for the condition, it’s often overlooked.

Dr. Williams continued, “There’s a large number of people that are underdiagnosed or the diagnosis is delayed.”

Hip dysplasia runs in families and is more common in girls than in boys. It’s also more likely to affect a baby that’s breeched or large. Firstborns are more at risk for the condition. And more recent research has shown swaddling babies with their hips and knees straight can contribute to hip dysplasia. Experts recommend a loose swaddle that allows the baby’s legs to bend easily. Signs of hip dysplasia in children include walking with a limp or one leg that appears longer than the other. In teens and young adults, hip dysplasia can cause painful conditions such as a labral tear or dislocated joint. That’s why it’s important to get treatment early on.

“So, if it’s diagnosed and treated appropriately before arthritis starts a hip replacement can be avoided or postponed for years and years,” said Dr. Williams.

Keeping hips healthier, longer.

Treatments for hip dysplasia may involve braces to hold the joint in place and physical therapy to strengthen the joint and improve flexibility. Simple surgical procedures are sometimes performed to reposition the socket or repair injuries.

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