For most parents, the first few days and weeks following the birth of a child can be almost euphoric. While the members of the baby’s family are intent on focusing on the beauty of this new life, the child’s pediatrician is left with the primary responsibility of making sure the baby is healthy, whole, and well adjusted to their new surroundings. One area that the medical staff and family alike should be aware of is the health of the hips. Many people hold the belief that hip problems are isolated to elderly people and would not image that their baby may be at risk for a serious condition called hip dysplasia. While this condition only affects about 2% of infants, early detection and treatment may have life altering effects for those diagnosed.
Hip Dysplasia, generally speaking, is when the top of the leg bone (the femur) is not properly located in the hip socket. In order to diagnose this condition early, it is important that parents and doctors pay close attention to the hips during the first few days and weeks of an infant’s life. The following is a list of the most common symptoms associated with hip dysplasia in infants.
#1 – “Clicky” Hips
This symptom will typically be a looseness of unnatural movement in the hip joint. Some people have said it looks similar to a dislocated hip because the leg is allowed to move beyond the normal range of motion at times.
#2 – Asymmetrical Leg Placement
When a child is lying on its back, infants with symptoms of hip dysplasia usually will not place their legs symmetrically. Infants with normal hip development will have skin in the folds of their groin or knee joints be the same.
#3 – Outturned Feet
Another symptom of hip dysplasia is an outturning of the feet. In some cases, the feet may have a tendency to fold outward all the time. In other cases, the feet may even turn so much that the toes point nearly backwards.
#4 – “Crab” Walking
In older infants that have begun cruising and trying to walk, a common indicator of hip dysplasia is an irregular walking posture that resembles a crab’s walk.
If you feel that your child may show signs of hip dysplasia, be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician or family doctor immediately. For additional information on testing for hip problems using x-ray or ultrasound equipment, please refer to this article.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is, in no way, a substitute for a proper diagnosis or physician prescribed treatment.