Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit, the AAFP patient education website.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip


Am Fam Physician. 2014 Dec 15;90(12):online.

  See related article on developmental dysplasia of the hip.

What is developmental dysplasia of the hip?

Developmental dysplasia (dis-PLAY-zhah) of the hip (DDH) happens in newborns. It is when the ball of the hip joint is not in its socket.

What causes it?

It is not known, but DDH is more common in breech babies, first-born babies, and baby girls. It also runs in families.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor can usually feel it when checking your baby's hips in the first few hours after he or she is born. An ultrasound may be needed to get a picture of the hip. Sometimes the problem can't be felt at birth. Your doctor should check your child's hips at each well-baby checkup during the first year of life.

How is it treated?

Sometimes no treatment is needed, and your baby can be rechecked in a few weeks. Other times, the baby might need to wear a harness or a cast for six weeks or longer. In more severe cases, surgery might be needed.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor

AAFP's Patient Education Resource

Harvard Medical School's Patient Education Center

International Hip Dysplasia Institute

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


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