Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What Is Hip Dysplasia In Infants?

Under normal circumstances, the hip joint which is a ball and socket joint has the ball which is the femur firmly fitted into the socket which is a part of the pelvic bone. In some instances, especially in newborn and infants this hip joint is not formed normally and the ball is loose around the socket making it prone to dislocations. This is what is called Hip Dysplasia. While in majority of the cases, hip Dysplasia is present at birth, in certain cases this develops during the first year of the child’s life. This is precisely the reason why Hip Dysplasia is also known by the name of developmental dysplasia of the hip.

5 Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Infants

5 Causes Of Hip Dysplasia In Infants

The exact cause as to why hip dysplasia develops in infants and newborns is not yet known but most of the studies suggest it to be developmental in nature as it starts to develop around the time of birth, immediately after birth or during the first year of birth of the child. In some cases, Hip Dysplasia may develop during the childhood days.

Some of the factors which influence the development of Hip Dysplasia in Infants are:

#1 Genetic Makeup: Studies suggest that an infant is more likely to develop Hip Dysplasia if there is a family history of this condition. The genetics may not be a direct cause for the development of this condition but plays an important role. If a child of a mother has this condition then the chances of another child having this condition is about 6-8%. In case if the parents have hip Dysplasia then the chances of their child having this condition increases to about 12-15%. This percentage increases to 40% in cases where a parent and a child have hip dysplasia and are expecting another child. This means that 1 in every 10 children born will go on to develop hip dysplasia if a parent or a sibling has this condition.

#2 Fetal Positioning: This also plays a crucial role in the development of hip Dysplasia. If the positioning of the baby in the womb is such that it puts excessive pressure on the hips then the chances of the baby developing hip Dysplasia at the time of birth is more. This is because the increased pressure on the hips stretches the tender ligaments making them loose.

Similarly, children who are in a breech position tend to have more chances of hip instability resulting in Hip Dysplasia than babies in normal positioning. Babies with fixed foot deformity or torticollis have more chances of developing hip Dysplasia than normal children.

#3 Hormone Sensitivity: Around the time of birth, the mother starts to make hormones which make the ligaments lax to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal smoothly. Some infants may be sensitive to this hormone resulting in their ligaments to become more lax than others which may result in the development of hip dysplasia at the time of birth. This is usually seen in girls more than boys as the ligaments in girls become more lax than boys.

#4 Skeletal Structure: The skeletal structure of an infant is more fragile especially immediately after birth. This makes them prone to frequent dislocations.

#5 Positioning After Birth: Once the child is born, some parents prefer to keep the child in a cradleboard with the hips extended and the legs close to each other. This puts excessive pressure on the hips and makes the baby prone to Hip Dysplasia. Parents who keep their child with the legs apart have less chances of their baby developing Hip Dysplasia.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 15, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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