Treatment will depend on your
baby’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the
The goal of treatment is to put the
head of the femur back into the socket of the hip so that the hip can develop normally.
Treatment choices vary for babies. They may include:
A special brace or harness. The
Pavlik harness is most often used. It is used on babies up to 6 months of age to hold
the hip in place, while allowing the legs to move a little. Your baby’s healthcare
provider puts the harness on and periodically checks its fit. The harness may fix the
DDH. But sometimes the hip may still be partly or completely dislocated.
Casting. If your child still has DDH,
a cast may help. This is called a spica cast.
Surgery. If the other methods don’t work, or if DDH is
diagnosed at age 6 months to 2 years, your child may need surgery to realign the hip.
Your child may then have to wear a spica cast for up to 6 months after surgery. This
special cast holds the hip in place as it heals. After the cast is removed, your
child may need a special brace or physical therapy exercises to strengthen the
muscles around the hip and in the legs.
If DDH is found early, many babies
do well with the Pavlik harness, and if needed, casting. Some babies may need one or
more surgeries as they grow because the hip can dislocate again. If DDH is left
untreated, a child may develop differences in leg length and a duck-like gait. Later in
life, he or she may have pain or arthritis in the hip.