Developmental Dysplasia Of The Hip In Children


Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a condition that affects your child's hips. Normally, the head of the femur (thigh bone) fits into the acetabulum (cup-shaped hip socket). Together with ligaments (connective tissues that hold the bones together), they all form the hip joint. DDH prevents the femur head from fitting correctly into the hip socket. The head may only be slightly out of place or may not be in the hip socket at all. Sometimes, DDH occurs when the ligaments of the hip joint are loose or stretched too much.



  • Prescription pain medicine may be given to your child. Ask your child's primary healthcare provider (PHP) how to give this medicine safely.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's PHP if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

Follow up with your child's PHP or orthopedist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Your child may need more rest than he realizes as he heals. Quiet play will keep your child safely busy so he does not become restless and risk hurting himself. Have your child read or draw quietly when he is awake. Follow instructions for how much rest your child should get while he heals.

  • Talk to your child's PHP about exercise and play for your child. Together you can plan the best exercise program for him. It is best to start slowly and do more as he gets stronger. Exercise will help make his bones and muscles stronger.

  • Use special car seats and safety vests in the car. These are made for children in spica casts and Pavlik's harnesses. They should be used while your child is in a car. Ask where you can get a special car seat or safety vest for your child.

  • Ask your child's PHP how to use braces correctly. To keep your child from falling, remove loose carpeting from the floor. Have him use chairs with side arms and hard cushions to make it easier to get out of a chair. You may want to put a chair or a commode inside the shower.

Prevent blood clots:

Your child may be at risk for blood clots if he has limited movement. Ask your child's PHP if your child needs to elevate his legs above the level of his heart. Elevation will keep blood from staying in his legs and may prevent blood clots from forming. As pain decreases, your child may need to start moving or walking to improve blood circulation and bone healing.

Physical and occupational therapy:

A physical therapist teaches your child exercises to help him improve movement and strength. An occupational therapist teaches your child skills to help with his daily activities.

Contact your child's PHP or orthopedist if:

  • Your child's pain is getting worse, even after he has taken his pain medicines.

  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child feels lightheaded, short of breath, and has chest pain.

  • Your child's splint or cast gets damaged or breaks.

  • Your child's skin, toes, toenails, or the area around the hips turns blue or feels cold and numb.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Developmental Dysplasia Of The Hip In Children (Discharge Care)