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For professionals

Development Dysplasia of the Hips

What is Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips (DDH)?

DDH 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.

Babies with an abnormal newborn infant physical examination, or risk factor for DDH will be referred for an ultrasound scan according to University Hospital of Bristol clinical guidelines. Risk factors include:

  • Being the first child
  • Being female
  • Breech position during pregnancy
  • Family history of the disorder
  • Large birth weight

If the USS detects any hip immaturity or instability, they will be referred to the "Baby Hip Clinic" where they will be reviewed by a consultant radiologist, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and specialist physiotherapist. This clinic runs every 2 weeks on a Monday afternoon.

If treatment is necessary, a pavlik harness will be supplied and fitted by the physiotherapist. This is worn full time until the hip(s) mature - usually 6-12 weeks.

If the hips are irreducible or the pavlik fails, the baby will be referred for arthrogram and examination under anaesthetic.

Babies who have been treated with a pavlik harness will be followed up in orthopaedic clinic on an annual basis or as clinically indicted.


Physiotherapy Contact

  • Debbie McMillan - 0117 342 8525


Further Information

For further information about hip dysplasia, please go to: