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Hip Dysplasia: Its Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Woman holding hips in pain

Our hips are the pivot points of our lives, and when our hips don’t work properly, many conditions could potentially lead to hip pain. Hip dysplasia is a condition that is often undiagnosed in older adults, as it primarily is noticed at birth or during a newborn’s first year. However, because of this assumption, this condition is often escaped by doctors. Today, physicians are becoming more aware of this condition, as this silent form of hip pain is often the reason many people get hip replacements in the US each year. So, what is hip dysplasia all about? If you have this condition, you’re not alone.

What is Adult Hip Dysplasia?

Our hip joints can withstand repetitive motions and a significant amount of wear and tear because they allow us to have fluid movement. The cartilage within our hip joints gives us the ability to rotate and adjust to various positions and is a vital aspect of how our body functions mechanically. However, hip dysplasia is un-diagnosed during adulthood due to various other conditions that coincide with this condition, including rheumatoid arthritis, hip osteoarthritis, and the increased risk of hip fractures, the wear, and tear of the cartilage over time.

People with hip dysplasia often have a hip socket that’s too shallow to support the ball of the hip. The ball called the femoral head and the socket, called the acetabulum, don’t provide enough support due to the shallow shape of the socket, which can lead to a higher risk of degradation and not enough cartilage to support the hips movements. Our cartilage is necessary to support us for our lifetime, and when stiffness and pain occur within the socket, the joint can wear down and lead to arthritis in the hip.

So, why is it so undiagnosed in adults? This most often occurs due to a lack of awareness about the condition and the physician’s ability to diagnose it properly. Hip dysplasia most often occurs in newborns because when a child is born, the cartilage is soft and requires more extensive care for the hip socket to form properly and turn into bone. But underlying bone deformities untreated during a child’s infancy can ultimately worsen conditions in the future. The joint surface from there needs more advanced treatments to help manage the condition.

What Treatments Are Available For Hip Dysplasia?

Even while researchers continue to encourage early intervention for hip dysplasia, older adults with this condition need to find treatments that manage their joint pain and stiffness. Currently, surgical treatments and physical therapy are some of the most widespread options physicians have for patients. Even while non-surgical treatments can provide temporary solutions, they often lack lasting solutions due to the inherent problems that occur within the joint itself. For those searching for solutions, some of the most commonly used surgical options include:

  • Hip Preservation Surgery
  • Total Hip Replacement
  • Arthroscopic Surgery

For hip dysplasia, constant management and care need to be taken to help preserve the cartilage and keep the hip socket healthy. For more information, contact your orthopedic surgeon for more treatment options for this condition.

Luc Teurlings, MD The team at Space Coast Orthopedics is proud to provide the communities of Merritt Island, FL, and the entire space coast with exceptional orthopedic services. From physical therapy to surgical solutions for concerns affecting joints resulting from sports injuries, natural aging, or trauma, we work with our patients to restore and maintain an active life.
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