Developmental dislocation of the hip joint; Developmental hip dysplasia; DDH; Congenital dysplasia of the hip; Congenital dislocation of the hip; CDH; Pavlik harness
When the problem is found during the first 6 months of life, a device or harness is used to keep the legs apart and turned outward (frog-leg position). This device will usually hold the hip joint in place while the child grows.
This harness works for most infants when it is started before age 6 months, but it is less likely to work for older children.
Children who do not improve, or who are diagnosed after 6 months often need surgery. After surgery, a cast will be placed on the child's leg for a period of time.
If hip dysplasia is found in the first few months of life, it can almost always be treated successfully with a positioning device (bracing). In a few cases, surgery is needed to put the hip back in joint.
Hip dysplasia that is found after early infancy may lead to a worse outcome and may need more complex surgery to fix the problem.
Bracing devices may cause skin irritation. Differences in the lengths of the legs may persist despite appropriate treatment.
Untreated, hip dysplasia will lead to arthritis and deterioration of the hip, which can be severely debilitating.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you suspect that your child's hip is not properly positioned.