Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) is a relatively uncommon condition affecting the hip joints. It occurs when the hip joint is not properly formed at birth with the cup being more shallow than it should be. In the most extreme cases the hip can be dislocated at birth. DDH is also sometimes known as congenital dislocation of the hip (CDH) or simply as “clicky hips”.

All children should be screened for DDH at birth and if detected the vast majority can be treated, usually with bracing and sometimes with surgery. Most of these children will go on to have no problems in adult life. Some will have problems as a teenager or in their 20’s and there may be surgery available to improve this in some cases.

If DDH is left untreated or if treatment is not successful it can cause arthritis of the hip to develop in early adulthood. This usually presents as osteoarthritis  in the 40’s but can sometimes present in the 30’s or even 20’s. Once arthritis has developed, the treatment is the same as for osteoarthritis with pain relief in the early stages. Ultimately total hip replacement is the only definitive treatment once arthritis has developed.

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