Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH)

Nev Davies 

Reading Children’s Orthopaedic Unit

Information for Families
Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH)

What is DDH ?

The hip is a ball and socket joint. DDH is a range of conditions ranging from an underdeveloped socket through to a ball that is dislocated (out of the socket) All babies in the UK are checked at birth to make sure their hips are developing normally, and then again at 6-8 weeks. Some babies are at higher risk of having hip problems. These include twins, breech presentation babies and any baby with a family history of hip problems.

How is it diagnosed ?

Usually an experienced paediatric orthopaedic consultant or a specialist nurse consultant can examine a baby’s hips and find subtle signs that may suggest a problem. If so, an Ultrasound scan (jelly scan) is arranged to look at the position of the hip joint and confirm the diagnosis. This is completely harmless.

What is the treatment ?

Treatment options vary according to how undeveloped the hip is, the age the child presents (not all hip problems are present at birth), as wells as how the hip responds to the different treatment options. The general rule used in Reading is ‘first do no harm’ so we would always try non operative options first before discussing and moving on to more invasive options if necessary.

The treatment ladder is as follows. Please click on the separate links for more information:

Stage 1 – Plan A – treatment in a Pavlik Harness (dynamic splinting)
Stage 2 – Plan B – Hip arthrogram, examination under anaesthetic, trail of closed reduction and application of hip spica (plaster trousers)
Stage 3 – Plan C – open surgery followed by application of hip spica – to reduce the hip (put ball into socket) and hold it there.

What is the follow up ?

Your child will be followed up in clinic regularly until we are happy the hip is developing normally both clinically and radiographically (on X-rays).



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    I had a knee arthroscopy to removed and clean up damaged cartilage after 6 years of repeated injury and dislocation from playing sport. I had been putting off the idea of surgery, but it was a great decision to finally get it seen to. I couldn't be happier with the results so far, and in less time than expected. Running, squats and climbing stair caused pain, and a lot more cracking than a 22 year old's knee should have! Now 2 weeks after the op, and following the physio exercises given after the operations, I am driving and climbing/ descending stairs without a problem and on the road to a full recover and hoping to get back to regular exercise within the next few weeks.

    I came to see you approximately four years ago and talked through the pros and cons of having an ACL replacement following an ACL rupture in my right knee I suffered playing an ill- advised game of beach volley ball on holiday in Antigua. I went ahead with the operation which you successfully performed at the Dunedin Hospital in Reading, I got on with my rehab and I now just wanted to let you to know that I will be running the London Marathon in three weeks (and raising money for Whizz-Kidz a disability charity for young people.) This letter is just a belated thank you for enabling this to happen.

    Mr Davies is a fantastic surgeon he put in a half knee joint in my right knee I have no problem with it ever since the operation in August last year. I have no more pain in my knee at all. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Mr Nev Davies has a very pleasant manner and was easy to talk to. The service provided was efficient, quickly identified the problems I had and was able to recommend treatment close to where I live.


    • General Medical Council (GMC) Membership
    • Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS(Eng.))
    • British Medical Association (BMA)
    • British Orthopaedic Association (BOA)
    • British Society of Children's Orthopaedic Surgery (BSCOS)
    • British Association of Surgery of the Knee (BASK)
    • AO European Trauma Group
    • British Orthopaedic Sports Trauma and Arthroscopy Association (BOSTAA)