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The hip consists of a "ball-and-socket" joint that is held together by a joint capsule, tendons, and ligaments. The head (top) of the thigh bone or femur forms the ball that goes into the socket or acetabulum, which is part of the pelvis. This hip joint fits together such that the ball rotates freely in its socket. The head of the femur is covered by a smooth cartilage that makes the hip joint glide easily during movement of the joint.

The edge of the socket is also lined by cartilage, which forms the labrum and seals and stabilizes the joint.

A person who has hip dysplasia may have a hip joint that is the wrong shape, or a hip socket that does not completely cover the femoral head. This causes abnormal wearing of the cartilages in the joint, leading to a dislocation of the joint. A dysplastic hip joint is shallow or out of place and will wear out faster than a normal joint.

Different medical terms are used for hip dysplasia, depending on the time of occurrence and severity.

These include Hip Dislocation, Developmental Dislocation of the Hip, Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip, Congenital Dislocation of the Hip, and Acetabular Dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia may occur at birth due to abnormal development (congenital). In some cases, the abnormality is very mild and cannot be detected at birth. Dislocation of the hip may also occur due to laxity in the capsule and other mechanical factors. In adolescents and adults, dysplasia may occur due to a disorder that was not treated or dysplasia that has been previously treated. Hip dysplasia that is left untreated can progress to arthritis.

A number of people who undergo hip replacements are believed to have hip dysplasia that was left untreated.

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It usually involves the left hip, although in some cases, both hips are affected. Adolescents tend to suffer from severe dysplasia because the soft tissues that surround their joint fail earlier. They usually experience hip pain with or without a limp. Pain may be felt in the front of the groin, in the side, or back of the hip. Early symptoms may be mild, but may increase in the frequency and intensity over time. Clicking in the joint may also occur. However, other hip disorders may also result in these symptoms.

Diagnosis And Treatment

To confirm the diagnosis, x-rays and other imaging techniques such as MRI may be used.

People who have very mild symptoms may be treated with conservative (non-operative) measures which include weight loss, physical therapy, modification of lifestyle, and joint injections. These may also be recommended for people who have severe hip arthritis. Activities that put too much stress on the joints such as high-impact sports must be avoided.

Definitive treatment consists of surgery which may involve hip preserving techniques such as periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) or replacement of the hip joint.

If you have hip pain or a limp that does not improve with home remedies, consult a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.

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