Walking at one, talking at two – sometimes it ‘s just not that simple.

This week is Health Hips Week and Healthy Hips Australia are working to improve infant hip dysplasia support and awareness. Hip dysplasia, or developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), is a condition in which the ball and socket joint of the hip are dislocated or prone to dislocation. Babies experiencing DDH often have abnormally shallow sockets or loose ligaments around the hip joint that allow the ball of the femur (thigh bone) to slip out of the acetabulum (the hip socket).

Every day, around 11 Australian children are diagnosed with hip dysplasia and up to 1 in 50 babies are currently being treated for the condition. Girls are at higher risk of DDH, with 1 in every 600 affected, compared to 1 in 3000 boys.

Though 95% of infants with hip dysplasia are successfully treated, the later the diagnosis, the longer, and often more painful the treatment. If babies receive treatment in the first few months, this can prevent the need for higher risk treatments, such as invasive surgery, later on.

Healthy Hips Week aims to improve early detection and improved treatment by increasing education and awareness around DDH and risk factors that predispose babies to the condition.

What factors increase risk of infant DDH?

• Being female
• Being first born
• Having a first degree relative with hip dysplasia
• Breech delivery, which puts more stress on the baby’s joints
• Multiple births (twins, triplets, etc)
• First time mother
• Disorders such as spina bifida and or cerebral palsy
• Innappropriate swaddling – baby’s legs should be free to move.

Signs and symptoms

• Reduced joint mobility
• Clunking or clicking when moving the leg
• Uneven buttocks crease
• Uneven leg length – one knee joint looks higher than the other
• Feet (or foot) turned out
• Favours one side when sitting/walking

For more information on hip dysplasia in both children and adults, visit the Healthy Hips Week website.