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Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip in Children


DDH is a condition that prevents parts of your child's hip joints from fitting together correctly.

Normal Hip Joint


Call 911 for any of the following:

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

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child's splint or cast gets damaged or breaks.
  • Your child's skin around his toes or hips is blue, cold, or numb.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's pain is getting worse, even after he has taken his pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her 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.

Prevent blood clots:

Your child may be at risk for blood clots if he has limited movement. Ask your child's healthcare provider 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.

Manage your child's DDH:

  • 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 healthcare provider 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 a car seat and safety vest in the car. These are made for children in spica casts and Pavlik harnesses. They should be used while your child is in a car. Ask where you can get a car seat or safety vest for your child.
  • Ask your child's healthcare provider how to use a hip brace 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.
  • Take your child to physical and occupational therapy as directed. 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.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

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

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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 (Aftercare Instructions)

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