Guest Post: Coping with Hip Dysplasia

Mamahomelife discusses Hip dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is something you may or may not have hear about. 

Katherine from Mamahomelife blog experienced Hip Dysplasia first hand with her daughter Amelia. Read about her experiences and tips for spotting the signs, treatments and coping with the condition....

NB: Hip Dysplasia often gets discussed when talking about baby carriers – as sometimes incorrect placement can cause stress on the hips – leading to issues. Take a look at our blog article on Baby Carriers and Hip Dysplasia: How to Carry Correctly if you are worried at all!)


I’m Katherine, I’m a mummy of 2 girls who are 2 and 3. I’m a modern day housewife and passionate writer at MamaHomeLife, writing about all things parenting can bring. Highs, lows and everything in-between!

Coping with Hip Dysplasia

As parents, or parents to-be, many of us may not have heard about Hip Dysplasia. Personally, I had heard of it when I was expecting my first daughter, but I didn’t know much about it.

Hip Dysplasia, also referred to as DDH (Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip) is caused by the ball shaped part of the end of the thighbone and the hip socket not fitting together properly.

Hip dysplasia - hip positioning

Symptoms and diagnosis

Around 1-2 of 1000 babies are born with hip problems that require treatment.

After the Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) at 6-8 weeks, my daughter's hips appeared normal and seemed fine up until she started walking. During the NIPE check, the Ortolani and Barlow test is performed. This test is a physical examination that’s performed by moving the legs and hips to see if they are moving correctly and to feel for any clicks. Although this is the most common way to check for DDH at an early age, this test isn’t always 100% accurate.

When my daughter did start walking, she appeared to be walking with a slight limp. After a few months or so of her being unsteady on her feet, we decided to get her checked out. We left it a few months as we thought her wobbly legs were a normal part of a baby learning to walk! Other common signs to look out for are: uneven creases around the bum/thighs and one leg being longer than the other.

The GP we saw referred back to the Ortolani and Barlow test that is carried out during the NIPE check. During this test, the GP noticed her hip was clunking into position, so we were referred to a consultant at the hospital.


Treatment for DDH is dependent on when it’s diagnosed and the severity. Usually, from 0-6 months the most common treatment is for a little one to wear a Palvik harness.

Palvik harness

This is a fabric harness that has multiple velcro straps that keep baby's hips set into a “froggy” type position and it’s usually worn for 6-12 weeks.

If DDH isn’t diagnosed until after 6 months, then dependent on the severity, surgery may be the only option. Before surgery, however, a Rhino or Hip Abduction Brace may be suggested. This is similar to the Palvik Harness in how it works but it’s made of plastic and foam.

If surgery is the only option, like it was for our daughter, then the child would be put into a Spica cast. For our daughter, we got off quite lightly and she only needed to be in her cast for 7 weeks, but the average time in a Spica cast is usually 12 weeks minimum!

When surgery was mentioned, the consultant wasn’t sure which type my daughter would need until the actual operation as the X-Rays were unclear.
During surgery, they performed and Open Reduction and Femoral shortening, which means they cleared out the joint and also shortened the Femur (leg).

Tips: Living with a cast

  • During the 7 weeks of casted life, we found some simple things to be a struggle. Even just getting my daughter dressed wasn’t easy so having clothes in bigger sizes to fit over her cast was brilliant!
  • Dresses, rompers and playsuits are perfect as they require less effort when it comes to nappy changing and they’re also a perfect option for fitting over a Palvik harness.
  • If you’re comfortable to and dependant on your little ones age, I’d recommend changing your little ones cot into a bed (if it’s a cot-bed). This will help save your back when lifting them in and out of bed for naps and bedtime.
  • Another thing to help when lifting and carrying your little one is the HippyChick Hip Carrier. This can be used to help support the weight of the cast, as they are quite heavy!
  • To give little ones more support to be able to sit up and play, either a beanbag or some really sturdy cushions or pillows are great for propping them up into a comfortable upright position.
  • I recommend flashy toys with lots of different sounds for entertaining playtime too, I found my daughter learnt a lot during her time in a cast, her speech came along so well too.
  • Another thing my daughter enjoyed was dressing up! When she was in a Spica cast, she loved putting on her fairy wings and spreading her magic fairy dust with her wand!
  • Also before going in for surgery, she had a little doctors bag and would dress up as a nurse.

My biggest tip though is to be sure to seek support for any questions you may have, or anything you might be struggling with or worried about. It’s a lot to take in when your little one is facing a journey you didn’t expect, so be sure to take care of yourself too!

Guest Post: Coping with Hip Dysplasia

Follow Katherine's parenting journey on her blog