More hip dysplasia awareness needed

More hip dysplasia awareness needed

Up to 1 in 50 babies are treated for hip dysplasia in Australia

What is hip dysplasia?


The hip joint is made up of a ball and socket; the femoral head of the thigh bone (femur) is the ball and the acetabulum of the pelvis is the socket. Loose ligaments around the joint can allow for misalignment of varying degrees to occur. The hip joint is classified as displaced when the ball and socket do not fit together in their ‘normal’ position. Sometimes this is due to abnormal development and/or lack of growth.

Also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) and ‘clicky hips’, this is a common condition that health professionals aim to diagnose early in babies. It can result in months — and in some cases years — of medical treatment. Left undiagnosed, it’s one of the leading causes of early-onset arthritis of the hip. Despite this, awareness of DDH and support for people impacted by it in Australia is limited. The mission for Healthy Hips Australia is to change this. Your support by spreading the word is greatly appreciated as are donations to further our awareness, support and education services. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Donate now.

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8 year old girl’s hips

Who’s more susceptible to hip dysplasia?


Hip dysplasia is difficult to detect. Early diagnosis yields the most favourable outcome. It is referred to as a silent condition; there may be no obvious signs or symptoms. The following flyer lists some potential indicators of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), the most commonly used term for hip dysplasia in children, to look out for. Please note the presence of these does not mean your child has DDH. Further evaluation with your GP or a child/maternal health nurse is recommended.


What is the fuss about hip dysplasia and swaddling:


There are many benefits to swaddling during the first months of life; it provides security and comfort, aides in settling and establishing sleep patterns. Research indicates swaddling can increase the risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). See our Safe Swaddling Guidelines for further information.

To help natural hip development during swaddling:

Source: International Hip Dysplasia Institute
Source: International Hip Dysplasia Institute


  • Position your baby with their hips bent and knees apart; a bit like a frog.
  • Allow room around the hips for movement.
  • Wrap the upper body firmly, but not tightly. Consider swaddling the arms only.
  • Follow SIDS and Kids guidelines – links below.
  • Stop swaddling once your baby is rolling, back to tummy and onto back again, during playtime, as it may prevent your baby from returning to their back during sleep (around 4-6months of age).


Source: International Hip Dysplasia Institute
Source: International Hip Dysplasia Institute


  • Wrap legs tight and straight down / pressed together. At this stage in life, the hip joint can be loosened in the straight-legged position.
  • Use sleep sacks and pouches that tighten around the thigh.






Further Information:

If you feel passionate about increasing awareness for hip dysplasia please consider helping us in our work. Donate now.

Hip Dysplasia Overview

Signs and Symptoms of hip dysplasia

Safe Swaddling Guidelines

International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Royal Children’s Hospital Video on Safe Wrapping

Victorian Paediatric Orthopaedic Network Safe Wrapping Flyer – Royal Children’s Hospital

SIDS Safe Sleeping Information Statement – Wrapping Babies

SIDS and Kids Safe Wrapping – Guidelines for safe wrapping of young babies

Swaddling: IHDI Position Statement

Please help us to raise awareness and support so those faced with a diagnosis are less overwhelmed- donate today.



Written: December 2015. Latest revision April 2017.


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