Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip [DDH]

DDH refers to irregular development of the hip joint in a newborn baby or young child in one or both hips. The hip joint consists of a ball (the femoral head) and socket (the acetabulum).

In a child with DDH the acetabulum is shallow, the ligaments around the hip joints are loose and the femoral head becomes unstable within the socket. In some babies this combination may cause the hip to sublux or dislocate, which results in the femoral head sliding out of the socket.

The cause of DDH is currently unknown, however, it is acknowledged to be more common in first born babies, girls, breech delivery babies and in those with a family history of DDH.

As the severity of DDH is widely varied, the treatment option and treatment time will differ. Treatment may include a harness (orthosis), a hip spica (plaster) or surgery. In some cases the orthopaedic surgeon may opt for a combination of treatments depending on whether the hips are improving.

As an Orthotist we supply and fit and adjust the harness (orthosis) to treat DDH. Some harnesses require regular adjustment throughout the treatment period.

The following information will concentrate on the treatment of DDH with an orthosis.

There are three types of hip orthosis (harnesses) we use.

The Pavlic, the Correctio and the Rhino.

Your orthopaedic surgeon or paediatrician will have prescribed one of these for us to fit to your baby to treat DDH.

If you have any queries regarding other treatments or information on DDH please discuss this with your orthopaedic surgeon or paediatrician.