Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip

Developmental dysplasia of the hip, or DDH, is a term describing instability of the newborn hips. It happens in one out of 1,000 births, and is due to many factors, including:

  • First born (from a tight uterus)
  • Female sex (more relaxing hormones)
  • Family history
  • Breech presentation

The hips of infants with DDH are unstable and either pop in and out with movement, or may be very loose on examination.

Treatment consists of a Velcro harness from the chest down to the legs, which keeps the hips in a frog-like position. The hips are spread out and the knees are bent.  This harness is known as a Pavlik harness. It is effective in over 87 percent of babies with DDH, but must be worn full time for an average of six to twelve weeks.

The stability of the hip is routinely checked by clinical exams as well as by ultrasound.

Those babies whose hips do not improve with the Pavlik harness may need surgery.

If you need to reach the orthopaedic nurse before 4 pm Monday through Friday, call 513-636-4567. After 4 pm and during weekends and holidays, call 513-636-4200 and ask that the orthopaedic resident on call be paged.


Last Updated 07/2013