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DDH-Developmental Dislocation (Dysplasia)/Congenital Hip Dislocation Description

DDH-Developmental Dislocation (Dysplasia)/Congenital Hip Dislocation


In all cases of DDH, the socket (acetabulum) is shallow, meaning that the ball of the thighbone (femur) cannot firmly fit into the socket. Sometimes, the ligaments that help to hold the joint in place are stretched. The degree of hip looseness, or instability, varies among children with DDH.



In the most severe cases of DDH, the head of the femur is completely out of the socket.


In these cases, the head of the femur lies within the acetabulum, but can easily be pushed out of the socket during a physical examination.


In mild cases of DDH, the head of the femur is simply loose in the socket. During a physical examination, the bone can be moved within the socket, but it will not dislocate.


DDH tends to run in families. It is also predominant in:

  • Girls
  • First-born children
  • Babies born in the breech position (especially with feet up by the shoulders).
    The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends ultrasound DDH screening of all female breech babies.
  • Family history of DDH (parents or siblings)
  • Oligohydraminos (low levels of amniotic fluid)
Orthopaedic surgeon Melbourne
(Left) In a normal hip, the head of the femur fits firmly inside the hip socket. (Right) In severe cases of DDH, the femur is completely out of the hip socket (dislocated).

X Ray Image showing a dysplastic left hip – note the shallow socket, and angled roof(line)


Some babies born with a dislocated hip will show no outward signs.

Contact your GP or Paediatrician if your baby has:

  • Legs of different lengths
  • Uneven skin folds on the thigh
  • Less mobility or flexibility on one side
  • Limping, toe walking, or a waddling, duck-like gait
To book an appointment please contact Dr Slattery’s rooms on
03 5752 5020 mobile
We aim to see all fractures within 24hrs