10 things all parents need to know about...hip dysplasia
#1 Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the hip do not fit together in their 'normal' position. Sometimes this is due to abnormal development and/or lack of growth.
1 in 10 newborns have some hip instability at birth.
#2 During your child's first years of life, make sure their hip development is checked (this is a physical examination, an ultrasound or x-ray is only used to confirm a diagnosis) at every child/maternal health nurse and GP appointment. As per your baby's personal health record, these typically occur:
- Immediately post birth (and often repeated as part of the discharge check when leaving hospital)
- Within the first few weeks of life
- 6-8 weeks of age
- 6-8 months of age
- 12 months
- 18 months
- 3-4 years
Up to 1 in 50 babies are treated for hip dysplasia in Australia.
#3 Know the risk factors for hip dysplasia (see flyer below). If your child was breech beyond 34-weeks gestation or there is a family history of hip dysplasia discuss the need for an ultrasound. More information on diagnosis here.
#4 Learn the potential signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia so you know what to look out for (see flyer below).
#5 The causes of hip dysplasia aren't fully known. There are hereditary (family history) and environmental (swaddling too tightly) factors but sometimes babies still have the condition with neither of these factors being a reason.
#6 Swaddle right, not tight for healthy hip development. Learn how here.
#7 Just because your child has one or more of the signs & symptoms above, it doesn't necessarily mean they have hip dysplasia, don't panic but do discuss your concerns further with your GP.
#8 Hip dysplasia is referred to as a silent condition, as sometimes, there may be no apparent signs or symptoms at all. (That's why #2 is so important).
#9 Hip dysplasia is developmental, it isn't always present at birth. (Again - that's why #2 is so important).
Late diagnosis is an issue in Australia.
This has to change.
#10 Early diagnosis optimises the success of treatment. More information on treatment here.
Help improve hip dysplasia awareness now by sharing this with your family and friends today.
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Written: March 2016, Updated June 2021
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Every effort is made to ensure this information is up to date, accurate and easy to understand. Healthy Hips Australia accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading. This can be reproduce with acknowledgement to Healthy Hips Australia. Handouts are available to download free of charge at www.healthyhipsaustralia.org.au