donate icon DONATE

Families put their trust in Shriners Children’s for early diagnosis and effective treatment of hip dysplasia.

Shriners Children's is one of the largest networks of hospitals, medical centers and outpatient facilities in North America that specializes in pediatric orthopedics, giving us a truly unique vantage point when it comes to evaluating and treating hip dysplasia.

Our specialized expertise in non-surgical and surgical treatments for hip dysplasia gives children the best outcome. From motion analysis centers and physical therapy, to on-site prosthetics and orthotics services, we help children and adolescents with simple to complex hip conditions live healthy, active lives.

Defining Hip Dysplasia

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. Typically, the ball at the top of the thighbone fits into the hip socket. Hip dysplasia is when the hip joint has not developed properly and the socket is too shallow, allowing the ball to slip partially or completely out of the joint. This causes the joint to wear out faster than normal and can lead to early arthritis. Hip dysplasia can range from a mild problem to a complete hip dislocation. It is often totally painless for the infant and young child.

Hip dysplasia is treatable, but early detection and treatment is very important. If left untreated, hip dysplasia can cause permanent damage and lead to pain and hip function loss later in life. It is the number one cause of early arthritis of the hip. The right diagnosis and the right care, at the right time, is critical in reducing your child’s risk of pain and disability in adulthood.

Risk Factors

It may be helpful for families navigating a hip dysplasia diagnosis to know more about the condition. It occurs more often in girls than boys, but both sexes can be affected. Hip issues can run in families. Children can be affected in just one or both hips. Each year, approximately one in six newborns will have some type of hip instability and two to three out of every 1,000 infants will require treatment.

Several different issues can lead to hip dysplasia, including mechanical, hormonal, genetic and environmental factors. Firstborn children carry the highest risk as the uterus is typically smaller with firstborns, resulting in limited room for movement. A breech delivery increases risk. Having other members of the family affected by hip dysplasia also increases risk for the newborn. Other findings like curvature in the feet or neck are associated with hip dysplasia.

Trusted Care

A diagnosis of hip dysplasia for your child can cause anxiety. We know parents and caregivers will have many questions about treatment and quality of life. Rest assured that families that entrust Shriners Children’s specialists with their care will have an entire team to help guide you and make the right decisions for your family.

We’ve seen children with hip dysplasia successfully progress through childhood, meeting milestones, becoming active athletes, and confidently navigating their teen years. Here you can learn more about pediatric hip dysplasia and the treatment options that are available.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

The care Ashley has received for hip dysplasia is second to none. We have always been treated as a priority.
Stephanie, Salt Lake City

Does My Child Have Hip Dysplasia?

You might suspect your child has hip dysplasia if the leg on the side of the dislocated hip appears shorter or turns outward, or if you notice uneven folds in the skin of the thigh or buttocks, and the space between the legs seems narrower than normal or it is hard to spread the legs when changing a diaper.

Hip dysplasia can develop before birth, but sometimes children develop hip dysplasia after birth. Things like the condition’s severity and a child’s activity level can affect the onset of symptoms.

Shriners Children's Hip Dysplasia Treatments

Every hip dysplasia treatment plan is as unique as your child. Read more about the most common treatments below.

Nonsurgical treatment
These methods are most common when a baby is less than 6 months old. They typically consist of bracing a baby in such a way so that his or her hips are kept in a better position for hip joint development. The goal is to influence the natural growth processes of the baby so a more stable hip joint is developed.

  • Hip abduction brace is a brace that can be used for infants to hold their hips in a properly aligned position to encourage normal hip joint development. Also called fixed-abduction braces, they hold the legs apart and are not flexible like the Pavlik harness.
  • Pavlik harness is a specially designed harness to gently position your baby's hips in a well aligned and secure position. This better positioning encourages normal hip joint development over time.

Surgical intervention
After most surgical procedures, a spica (body) cast is used to keep the hip aligned in the new, corrected position while the tissues around the hip joint heal and re-form into a proper hip joint. If the hip stays in the joint and a complication known as avascular necrosis (AVN) does not happen, then the bones will look completely normal a couple of years after surgery.

  • Closed reduction is the most common treatment between the ages of 6 and 24 months of age. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which your physician physically manipulates the ball of the hip back into the socket. This is done with the child comfortably under general anesthesia and involves an applied body cast to hold the hip in place for a few months.
  • Femoral osteotomy is done when the upper end of the thighbone needs to be lowered so the ball points deeper into the socket. This is sometimes called a varus de-rotational osteotomy (VDO or VDRO).
  • Open reduction is done when it is suspected that tissue is keeping the head of the femur (the ball at the top of the thigh bone) from going back into the acetabulum (the socket). In young children, clearing out the hip joint may be all that's needed. In older children, the ligaments of the hip also need to be repaired.
  • Pelvic osteotomy is done when the hip socket needs repair. There are several different types of pelvic osteotomies, and the choice depends on the particular shape of the socket needing repair, the child's age and the surgeon's experience.

Services we provide

View All Related Services

Care Management

The care management team at Shriners Children's consists of registered nurses and social workers who act as resources for families throughout their plan of care.

Child Life Services

Child life professionals at Shriners Children’s take pride in focusing on the "above and beyond" aspects of medical care for our patients. From procedure support to camps, they are ready to advocate for your family.

Music Therapy

At Shriners Children's, we use a holistic approach to treatment. Providing music therapy is just one of the ways that we care for the overall well-being of children.

Pet Therapy

Shriners Children’s pet therapy program provides another component to our wrap-around care that our doctors cannot prescribe. Dogs, cats, bunnies and other outgoing animals spread joy to our patients daily.

Therapeutic Riding Program

Equine therapy provides physical and emotional benefits for Shriners Children's patients with disabilities or physical differences. Trained therapists walk alongside.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.