Hip dysplasia is an abnormality of the hip joint where the socket portion does not fully cover the ball portion, resulting in an increased risk for joint dislocation. Hip dysplasia may occur at birth or develop in early life. Regardless, it does not typically produce symptoms in babies less than a year old. Occasionally one leg may be shorter than the other. The left hip is more often affected than the right. Complications without treatment can include arthritis, limping, and low back pain.
Risk factors for hip dysplasia include family history, certain swaddling practices, and breech birth. If one identical twin is affected, there is a 40% risk the other will also be affected. Screening all babies for the condition by physical examination is recommended. Ultrasonography may also be useful.
Many of those with mild instability resolve without specific treatment. In more significant cases, if detected early, bracing may be all that is required. In cases that are detected later, surgery and casting may be needed. About 7.5% of hip replacements are done to treat problems which have arisen from hip dysplasia.
About 1 in 1,000 babies have hip dysplasia. Hip instability of meaningful importance occurs in one to two percent of babies born at term. Females are affected more often than males. Hip dysplasia was described at least as early as the 300s BC by Hippocrates.