Child Orthopedics

Frequently Asked Questions

My six-month old grandson has just been diagnosed with developmental hip dysplasia. What can be done about this problem?

There are a couple of treatment options for this problem. All involve putting the head of the femur (thigh bone) into the hip socket and keeping it there. The concept is called docking.

The idea is that pressure from the bone inside the hip socket will help stimulate normal growth and development. Without this, the socket remains shallow and the hip is in danger of dislocation.

One way to hold this position is with the use of a special device called a Pavlik harness. This is used with the infant or young child who has not started walking yet. It looks like a sling the fits around the outside of the clothing. It holds the legs open and hips rotated out. That's the position of greatest stability in the hip.

If the harness fails a special trunk and hip brace can be used. Sometimes surgery is needed to reform the hip. The child is put in a body-cast for six weeks afterwards.

Carl L. Stanitski, MD. Subsequent Orthotic Management of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. November/December 2005. Vol. 25. No. 6. Pp. 815-816.

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