Hip dysplasia is a condition which is seen in infants and young children as a result of developmental problems in the hip joint. However, symptoms of hip dysplasia (such as pain from labral tears, muscle overload and cartilage wear) can present later on in life. Some patients have borderline dysplasia that provides one with increased hip mobility or laxity. This mobility can overstress the surrounding muscular envelope of the hip or the structures within the joint (such as the labrum) and result in progressive pain with activity. Treatment of hip dysplasia can vary from specialized physical therapy to arthroscopy and even pelvic surgeries aimed at realigning the hip socket to provide more coverage and stability to the hip joint.
In extreme causes of dysplasia, the femur (thigh bone) partially or completely slips out of the hip socket causing dislocation at the hip joint. It is most common in first born baby with family history of the disorder. The exact cause for hip dysplasia is not known. Genetic factors play an important role in causing this birth defect.
The common symptoms of hip dysplasia include:
- Position of the legs may differ (dislocated hip may cause leg on that side to turn outwards)
- Restricted movement on the side of hip dislocation
- The leg may appear shorter on the side where hip is dislocated
- Skin folds of fat on the thigh or buttocks may appear uneven.
In normal hip, the head of the femur (thigh bone) fits well into the socket (acetabulum) whereas in hip dysplasia, the socket and femoral head are not congruent because of their abnormal development. Patients with hip dysplasia may have undergone one or more hip operations during their childhood which might have caused considerable skeletal changes and scarring of the soft tissues. Secondary osteoarthritis may develop later in life which may cause pain and stiffness in the hip. This is an indication for total hip replacement surgery. During this surgery, your surgeon enlarges and prepares the socket to receive the acetabular component. A bone graft may sometimes be placed to recreate the roof of defective hip socket.