Is Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip Reversible?

What is developmental dysplasia of the hip

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), is a condition in children caused by failure of the hip joint to develop properly. Normally, the hip is a ball and socket joint. This means that the top of the thigh bone is supposed to fit into the hip socket. However, in cases of hip dysplasia, the hip socket (acetabulum) is shallow, and therefore, the hip bone does not fit in the socket properly. Consequently, the top of the hip bone slips partially or completely out of the joint. Cases of hip dysplasia range from mild abnormalities to complete hip dislocation.

Developmental dysplasia is believed to be around birth. But in cases of mild hip dysplasia, the symptoms do not present till later when the child is grown.

Diagnosis and treatment


Screening is a crucial part in the detection and treatment of DDH. Screening enables early detection of the condition when it can still be treated easily. If DDH is detected late it is more difficult to treat and can lead to pain and disability later in the child’s life.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip is normally diagnosed in infants during routine screening through physical examination. In addition to physical examination, After detection by physical examination, imaging technologies such as radiography and ultrasonography are used to show the complexity of the condition. However, it is possible that the condition can go undiagnosed until the child grows and becomes more active.


With early diagnosis, hip dysplasia can be treated to achieve the best functional outcome for the child. However, if left untreated it can cause irreversible damage.

With early intervention and treatment hip dysplasia can be treated effectively to reduce the risk of suffering from arthritis of the hip early in life. Treatment of developmental dysplasia of the hip involves surgical, non-surgical, and structured physical therapy, depending on the severity of the condition, and the age of the patient.

Monitoring is crucial after treatment


Children with developmental dysplasia of the hip can be treated. Once diagnosed caregivers should seek early intervention and monitoring to help reverse the condition. Luckily, there are institutions with specialized units which deal with research and innovation in the area of hip dislocation. Visiting such institutions and getting adequate information on the specific needs of a child is important in ensuring proper treatment. Consequently, this can help reduce the risk of a child suffering pain and loss of function later in life.

Furthermore, there are charitable institutions such as Steps Worldwide which help support families with children affected with childhood lower limb conditions, including developmental dysplasia of the hip. Such an organization might be a good source of information and support for affected families. Therefore, caregivers should reach out for help on behalf of affected children.