Previously known as Congenital Dislocation of the Hip, this is a condition in babies and young children where one, or both of the hips is found to be out of joint – not properly located in its socket.
As with many other medical conditions, there is considerable variation in the severity.
The hip may be dislocated at rest, unstable at rest with a risk of subsequent dislocation, or alternatively the hip socket may be shallow and the cover for the head of the femur not good enough to provide long-term comfortable function in to the future – this is known as dysplasia.
The condition significantly affects around 1 or 2 in 1000 babies at birth, and between 5 and 20 may have some lesser form of instability, mostly requiring little or no treatment.
It is more common in girls than boys (about 6 to 1), more likely in a first born child, more likely after a breech birth, and a family history of the condition seems to statistically increase the risk. The left hip is more often affected than the right.
The choice of treatment is determined by a number of factors, especially the severity of the condition, and the age of the patient.