The Parent’s Guide to Hip Dysplasia

The proper functioning of the hip joint is essential for basic movement and for overall quality of life. While hip problems are often associated with older adults who have arthritis, they can also affect children and infants. Hip dysplasia refers to the instability and dislocation of the hip joint. Most often, it is present at birth, although it may develop during the first year of the child’s life. In some cases, the failure of a physician to diagnose and properly treat hip dysplasia may constitute an act of medical malpractice.

Causes
The presence of hip dysplasia by itself does not always indicate medical negligence; sometimes, the hip joint has simply failed to develop properly. Developmental hip dysplasia is more common among girls, first-born children, those with a family history of the condition, and cases that involve low levels of amniotic fluid. It can also occur more frequently in newborns born in the breech position. Medical organizations now recommend that all breech-born newborns be given an ultrasound to check for hip dysplasia.

Symptoms
There are different degrees of severity of hip dysplasia. Some children might not demonstrate noticeable symptoms. Parents might only notice that something is wrong when the baby has legs of different lengths, reduced flexibility and mobility on one side, or uneven skin folds on the thigh. As the child grows older and begins to walk, he or she might limp or otherwise take on an abnormal gait.

Treatments
Developmental hip dysplasia is best treated as soon as possible. When this condition is present at birth, it is incumbent upon the attending medical staff to detect the problem and recommend appropriate treatments. If the condition is detected at birth, the newborn is placed into a Pavlik harness, which is a soft positioning device that holds the hip joints in the proper positions while they develop.

At Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, our medical malpractice lawyers approach every case with the dignity and sensitivity that patients deserve. If your child has birth injuries or may have suffered from other forms of pediatric medical malpractice, you can speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys in Long Island, New York. Call (516) 858-2194 today for a free consultation.

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