This condition was previously called congenital dislocation of the hip. Many babies are described as having ‘clicky’ hips. This refers to the sensation that can be felt as the hip pops in and out of the socket.
In reality, DDH covers a spectrum of deformities. At the severe end, babies may have dislocated hips that will not go back into the socket. This leads to a short leg and when the children start to walk they will have a limp. At the mild end of the spectrum the hip may just be slightly shallow. The hip may be normal to examine and completely non symptomatic in childhood. These hips are however at risk of developing pain and osteoarthritis in adult life.
Certain groups of children are at greater risk of DDH. These include babies who are breech births and those with a family history. The condition affects girls nine times more frequently than boys.