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For parents

What is DDH?

This is a condition where the "ball and socket" of the hip joint does not develop properly in babies and young children. Approximately 1-2 babies per 1000 will need treatment for DDH but many more will get better on their own.

All babies will have their hips checked as part of the newborn infant physical examination. They will then have them checked again at 6-8 weeks of age. An ultrasound scan is usually recommended if:

  • The hip feels unstable
  • There is a family history of childhood hip problems
  • Your baby was breech

If it is thought that treatment may be necessary, your baby will be seen in the "Baby Hip Clinic". He or she will be seen by a consultant radiologist, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and a specialist physiotherapist.

What Does The Treatment of DDH Involve?

If following ultrasound scan, it is decided that treatment is necessary, the physiotherapist will fit a Pavlik Harness.

  • The Pavlik Harness is a fabric splint that positions the hips in a stable position and allows them to develop normally.

The harness needs to be worn for several weeks and should not be removed at home.

Whilst your baby is wearing a pavlik harness, they will need to come and see one of the specialist physiotherapists to have it checked and adjusted. These appointments are usually every 1 or 2 weeks. You will be shown how to:

  • Position your baby
  • Change your baby's clothes and nappy
  • Look after your baby's skin

Your baby will also have 1 or 2 more ultrasound scans to see how the hips are responding.

Once the hips have become mature, the harness can be removed. Your baby will then be reviewed at approximately 1 year of age by the orthopaedic doctor. 

Occasionally, the pavlik harness does not work. If this is the case your baby will be referred for an examination under anaesthetic. Further treatment will then be decided which may involve surgery and a plaster cast.


Physiotherapy Contact

  • Debbie McMillan - 0117 342 8525


For further information about hip dysplasia, please go to: