Children's Hospital Colorado
Hip Preservation Program

Hip Dysplasia

Kids aren’t just mini adults. In fact, they’re incredibly different. That’s why they need incredibly different care.

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What is hip dysplasia?

The hip joint is comprised of the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvic bone. The upper end of the femur is shaped into a ball (femoral head) that fits into a socket (acetabulum).  

In a normally developed hip, the round ball will sit comfortably inside of the hip socket. In a child with hip dysplasia, the ball is loose in the hip socket, which means the hip is dislocated. This condition presents itself in children who have previously had developmental hip dysplasia.

Learn about the difference between hip dysplasia and developmental hip dysplasia (DDH) in infants. The severity of hip dysplasia and the age of the patient will determine the course of treatment.  The goal of treatment is to maintain the contact of the femoral head (ball) and the acetabulum (socket) decrease pain and preserve the patient’s native hip.

What causes hip dysplasia?

The actual causes of hip dysplasia are still unknown; however, it seems that hip dysplasia is a developmental problem. It can occur before birth, after birth and less often during infancy. Children with hip dysplasia have had developmental hip dysplasia which may or may not have been treated during infancy or toddler years.

Who gets hip dysplasia?

There are several recognized risk factors for hip dysplasia:

  • Children who have had developmental hip dysplasia
  • A family history of hip dysplasia
  • Being the first-born child
  • Female (versus male) gender
  • Babies who are born in the breech position (head up and feet down)

Next steps

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    Learn more about the Hip Preservation Program
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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Michelle Wolcott, MD

Michelle Wolcott, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine

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Stephanie Mayer, MD

Stephanie Mayer, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery

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Gregory Walker, MD

Gregory Walker, MD

Pediatrics, Sports Medicine

Jennifer Nance, PPCNP-BC

Jennifer Nance, PPCNP-BC

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner