What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is an abnormality in the hip joint. In people with this condition, the femur (thigh bone) does not fit together with the pelvis as it should.

Hip dysplasia can damage the cartilage, the tissue that cushions these bones in the joint. It can also cause pain and issues, ranging from an unstable joint to dislocation (the bone slides out of place in the joint).

How common is hip dysplasia?

About 1 of every 1,000 babies is born with hip dysplasia. Girls and firstborn children are more likely to have the condition. It can occur in either hip, but is more common on the left side.

What causes hip dysplasia?

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket configuration that attaches the femur to the pelvis. In people with hip dysplasia, the femoral head (top of the femur) does not line up properly with the curved socket in the pelvis. In some cases, the socket is not deep enough to hold the femoral head in place.

Most people who have hip dysplasia were born with the condition. Hip dysplasia can develop if the baby’s position in the womb puts pressure on the hips. It can also be genetic (passed down in families).

When people are born with this condition, it is called developmental dysplasia of the hip or congenital hip dislocation.

What are the signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia?

Signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia include:

  • Pain in the hip
  • Loose or unstable hip joint
  • Limping when walking
  • Unequal leg lengths

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/24/2018.


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