Developmental Hip Dysplasia in Children

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a health condition that affects the hip joint in children, causing it to form abnormally. DDH prevents the hip from working correctly, is more common in girls and is present at birth.

Normal hip development sees the femur fitting snugly into the hip socket. However, in a child with DDH, the hip socket doesn’t develop fully and is too shallow to support the head of the femur. 

This means that the head of the femur can easily slip in and out of the hip socket and may result in hip dislocation, where the head of the femur moves partly or entirely out of the hip socket.

What causes DDH in a child?

Several things can lead to a child developing DHH. This condition tends to run in families, so a genetic link may be involved. However, there can be environmental triggers that can cause DHH in children, such as:

  • A breech delivery.
  • A tight uterus that makes it hard for the fetus to move around
  • The baby’s response to the mother’s hormones during pregnancy

Which children are at risk for DDH?

DDH tends to be more prevalent in first-born babies. This is because the uterus in a first-time mother can be small and tight, giving the baby little room to move, which can influence how the baby’s hips develop. 

Children are also more at risk for developing DDH when there is a family history of the condition or a family history of very flexible ligaments with frequent joint dislocations. 

How the baby is positioned in the uterus, especially in the breech position, can increase the risk of developing DDH. 

Female babies are more at risk of developing DDH, and babies with orthopaedic issues such as clubfoot are more at risk.

What are the symptoms of DDH in a child?

Symptoms of DDH can vary between each baby, but the most common symptoms to look out for when performing health checks on babies can include:

  • The folds in the skin of the thigh or buttocks may appear uneven
  • The leg may appear shorter on the side of the dislocated hip
  • The leg on the side of the dislocated hip may turn outward
  • The space between the legs may look wider than normal

In summary, DDH affects the hip joints of children. This health condition allows the head of the femur to dislocate due to the hip socket being too shallow. It is present at birth and can be linked to genetic and environmental factors.

Hip dysplasia is checked in the 6–8-week baby check, but a hip problem can also be discovered during a later baby health check. Practitioner Development UK Ltd. offers two valuable courses aimed at helping healthcare practitioners to boost their baby screening skills. 

P55 Six-eight-week baby check: update your screening skills: Online

This online course was developed following Public Health England’s new born and infant physical examination (NIPE) screening guidelines. It is an ideal course to help healthcare practitioners to refresh their skills within a positive learning environment.

The P55 six-eight-week baby check course has the four NIPE examination screening elements at its core, enabling participants to explore normal and abnormal findings. 

This course is perfect for practitioners who have completed an accredited neonatal or 6-8 week examination course and require a yearly update and for practitioners who would like to refine and update their current skills.

P61 The well-baby check challenge 0–6 months of age

The P61 well-baby check challenge course is aimed at health care providers who conduct well-baby clinics for children between 0-6 months of age, including registered staff such as Health Visitors and non-registered staff such as Community Nursery Nurses.

This course will explore a variety of presentations that are often of concern or noted during well-baby sessions. It will help healthcare practitioners to be more confident in detecting presentations of concern in the areas reviewed, managing common well baby presentations, including referring appropriately and addressing the concerns of parents.