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Am Fam Physician. 2014;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

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