Dysplasia of the hip in children and adolescents

Hip dysplasia occurs when a baby is born with a shallow hip socket. This can make the “ball” at the top of the leg bone slip in and out of the socket. Without treatment, this can lead to osteoarthritis and other hip deformities in young adulthood. When diagnosed and treated appropriately, most children develop normally.

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Hip dysplasia is a common condition, and babies that are breech, first-born females or have a family history of hip dysplasia are at a higher risk for having the condition. As experts in the complexities of growing bodies, our pediatric orthopedic providers can determine the right treatment based on a child’s age and the severity of the condition.

Treatment Options

Checking for dysplasia of the hip in babies is a regular part of standard checkups with their primary care providers. When diagnosed, one of our pediatric orthopedic specialists can help stabilize the hip and treat the condition to prevent pain or problems later in life. Often a simple harness before 6 months of age is enough to correct the problem, but other times, casting or surgeries are needed to ensure full recovery. Working with our exceptional pediatric orthopedic surgeons is the key to proper treatment.

Pavlik Harness

This harness is used on babies up to 6 months old to hold the hip in place. Sometimes just the harness is enough to successfully treat hip dysplasia.


If the hip continues to be partially or completely dislocated, casting may be required. The cast will be reapplied regularly to allow for baby's rapid growth.


When other methods are not successful, surgery may be required to put the hip back into place.

Depending on the age of the child, surgery may include pelvic surgery to deepen the socket of the hip; or shortening of the femur to re-position the ball of the hip.

Part of the treatment after a hip surgery is the spica cast, which holds the hip in place while it heals.

After a cast is removed following surgery, a special brace and/or physical therapy exercises may be used to help the hip develop.