Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) is a very common condition in newborns. Sometimes referred to as "clicky hips", DDH is an development problem related mostly to the hip socket (acetabulum). Depending on how severe this is, the socket may be more like a saucer than a cup. This can allow the hip to come out of joint. Thus is not painful, but the socket cannot develop without the ball of the femur being positioned in the centre of the socket.
Some cases only need to be monitored with the baby’s hips improving on their own. more severe forms of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) require treatment in the form of bracing to position the hip directly in the centre of the socket. Amazingly, with early treatment the socket can develop fully in around 6-8 weeks. Children diagnosed a little later may require more bracing. In some cases bracing is not enough and surgery is required. Professor David Little is an expert at this surgery.
In babies under 6 months the hip is mostly cartilage, and cannot be seen on x-rays. Ultrasound is an excellent tool for assessing the depth of the socket as well as the position and stability of the femoral head. Professor David Little performs his own hip ultrasounds so he can interpret the images in real time. Ultrasound monitoring of improvement in the hip helps determine when any bracing can stop or be weaned down.
There are many types of braces. Most newborns go in to a Pavlik harness which gently reduces the hip over time. Other braces include the Rhino brace which is for older children and can be used full or part-time as it is easy to take on and off.