Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Alert over early signs of debilitating condition

  • Comment

Parents and healthcare professionals need to have better awareness about a debilitating condition which could leave children unable to walk properly, a midwife has warned after noticing an increased number of misdiagnosed cases of hip dysplasia.

Mothers and fathers should learn how to spot key symptoms of the condition - which occurs when the femur does not properly fit into the hip socket - as early intervention could mean that affected children do not have to undergo painful surgery in later life.

While there are certain factors which predispose children to develop the condition, parents can also reduce the risk of their child developing the condition by opting for wider car seats, using specially designed baby carriers and avoid forcing their child’s legs together, according to midwife Nikki Khan.

Ms Khan, who also works as a clinical negligence lawyer, said: “It’s important for parents to keep an eye out for symptoms of hip dysplasia in their children.

“If they are changing their child’s nappy and they hear or feel a clunk or a click that could be a sign so the baby should be taken to the GP.

“Also if they notice skin creases around the thighs or that one leg is shorter than the other, that could also point to it.

“When the child starts to crawl, if they are dragging their leg that could signal a problem.

“Parents can reduce the risk by buying a wider car seat, using a baby carrier that keeps the baby in the frog-like position - and anything to avoid forcing the baby’s legs together.

“If it is picked up early they can have a Pavlik harness - essentially like a plaster cast that keeps the babies legs in a frog-like position - on for six to 12 weeks to make sure that the hip is sitting in the right position.

“If it is not picked up, the child might have to undergo major surgery to correct it.

“It is so preventable if it is picked up early - 90 to 95% who are treated with the harness go on to live normal lives.”

The condition - also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip or DDH - affects two to three babies per every 1,000. It is more common in girls than boys.

Babies are usually tested for the condition, which can affect babies from birth but can develop in childhood, within 48 hours of birth.

If left untreated, it could lead to pain, one leg being shorter than another, a limp and impaired mobility in later life.

While DDH is slightly more prevalent in babies born in the breech position and those who have a family history, they can also develop the condition in later life due to environmental factors.

Ms Khan, who has been a midwife for more than 20 years, has joined baby carrier company Ergobaby to launch the campaign Is Your Baby Sitting Comfortably? to help educate parents about the condition.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.