Hip Dysplasia in Children: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Hip Dysplasia in Children: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Mar 13, 2023

The medical terminology for hip dysplasia refers to a hip socket not fully covering the ball portion of the upper thigh bone. As a result, the condition causes the hip to become partially or entirely dislocated. Most people with hip dysplasia develop the condition at birth.

Doctors evaluate children by checking for signs of hip dysplasia shortly after birth and during pediatrician visits. Soft braces can help correct hip dysplasia if detected in early infancy. However, the symptoms of mild hip dysplasia might only become evident once children grow into young adults or teenagers. Hip dysplasia damages the cartilage lining the joint and can also damage the soft cartilage rimming the hip joint’s socket portion, resulting in a hip labral tear.

Older children and young adults may require surgery to shift the bones into their proper positions for smooth joint movement.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia

The hip joint comprises soft cartilage at birth, gradually hardening into bone. The ball and socket must fit together because they function as molds for each other. If the ball doesn’t sit firmly in the socket, it will not form fully around about and become shallow.

The space in the womb can become crowded during the final month of pregnancy, causing the ball of the hip joint to shift out of its proper position resulting in a shallow socket. Some elements that reduce space in the womb include the first pregnancy, a large baby, and breech presentation.

Hip Dysplasia Symptoms

Hip dysplasia symptoms can vary by age group. Infants will have one leg longer than the other, causing them to develop a limp when they start walking. In addition, one hip remains less flexible during diaper changes than the other.

Teenagers and young adults with hip dysplasia confront painful complications. The complications might include osteoarthritis or a hip labral tear. In addition, the challenges will cause activity-related groin pain besides the sensation of instability in the hip in some cases.

Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia

Your child’s pediatrician will check your baby for hip dysplasia during well-baby visits by moving the child’s legs in different positions that help determine whether the hip joints fit together. Mild hip dysplasia cases are challenging to diagnose and will not cause problems until your child grows into a young adult. However, if the pediatrician suspects hip dysplasia, they recommend imaging tests like x-rays and MRI scans.

Hip Dysplasia Treatment

The treatment for hip dysplasia depends on the patient’s age and the severity of hip damage. In addition, hip dysplasia treatment doesn’t deliver instant results, making it impractical to seek immediate care for the problem if it affects your child.

Babies under six months receive a soft brace for a treatment called the Pavlic harness that helps hold the ball portion of the joint in the socket for many months. The harness also allows the socket to mold the ball’s shape. Unfortunately, the brace will not work as desired if your child is over six months old. In such cases, the pediatrician may move bones into their correct positions and hold them there for several months by providing an entire body cast. Occasionally surgery becomes necessary to fit the joint as desired.

If your child has a severe condition of hip dysplasia correcting the position of the hip socket is also possible. Unfortunately, the correction needs periacetabular osteotomy when the socket is cut free from the pelvis for repositioning to ensure it matches with the ball better.

If an older child has severely damaged hips because of hip dysplasia, replacement surgery might be an option if they have incurred severe damage and are victims of debilitating arthritis.

When seeking treatment for hip dysplasia from the child’s pediatrician or the pediatric emergency room near me, prepare yourself with a list of questions you want to ask the doctor by writing down the signs and symptoms your child experiences and making a list of medications they take.

Expect the doctor providing kids urgent treatment to ask questions about when your child began experiencing the symptoms and whether the signs were continuous or occasional. If your child had already received a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, when and where was the diagnosis performed? The questions you ask and answer help the doctor determine the best treatment for your child to help them overcome the problem of hip dysplasia.

If your child appears to have one leg longer than the other, Express Emergency Room Harker Heights can help you diagnose the problem and receive treatment for hip dysplasia. Consult the facility today with your child to provide them the attention for this debilitating condition.

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