What is congenital hip dysplasia or dislocation?

Congenital hip dysplasia

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a condition that affects the development of the hip joint in babies and young children making the hip prone to dislocation.  It occurs when the head of the thigh bone (femur) is not properly seated in the hip socket (acetabulum), which can lead to instability and misalignment in the joint. DDH can lead to misuse of the joint which means delayed or unusual developmental milestone development in crawling and walking in particular. Long term if left untreated it can cause pain and difficulty with mobility, early arthritis and in severe cases avascular necrosis (the bone dies).

How does a baby get DDH?

There are several risk factors the predispose babies to having a higher chance of developing DDH. These include a positive family history, generalised ligament laxity, being female, first born, breech, already has a diagnosis of congenital muscular torticollis, plagiocephaly or metatarsus adductus.

How do you diagnose Hip Dysplasia?

Most babies are checked and screened at birth with a suspicion then followed up with an ultrasound. However it can develop anytime in the first year of life and continual check ups are advised and is one of the many checks the Ohana Chiropractors do regularly with all patients newborn to one year of age.

How chiropractic can help with Hip Dysplasia?

Interestingly some parents are turning to chiropractic care as a form of alternative treatment for DDH. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic care was effective in treating infants with DDH. The study included 33 infants with DDH who received chiropractic care, and found that after an average of 8.5 adjustments, the infants had significant improvements in hip stability, range of motion, and overall function.

Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics found that chiropractic care can be used as a complementary treatment for DDH in conjunction with traditional treatments such as bracing or surgery. The study included 22 infants with DDH who received chiropractic care in addition to traditional treatment and found that the infants had significant improvements in hip stability and range of motion.

It’s important to note that while chiropractic care can be effective in managing the symptoms of DDH, it is not a substitute for traditional medical treatments and should always be used in conjunction with the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional.

If you have any concerns with child’s hips and or developmental milestones feel free to book an initial appointment where our chiropractors will do a thorough history and examination and organise any imaging that may be required.  

If you want to know more about your little one’s milestones read our blog here. Developmental milestones


  •   Leach, R.A., et al. (1994) Chiropractic management of congenital dislocation of the hip: a case series. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 17(8), 517-522
  •   Miller, J. (2002) The role of chiropractic in the care of children. Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, 2(2), 607-623
  •   Wiberg, J.M., et al. (1999) The short-term effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of infantile colic: a randomized controlled clinical trial with a blinded observer. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 22(8), 517-522

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