Infant hip dysplasia is fairly common, and treatable, but getting it diagnosed early is important.
“She’s like any other baby- she gets into everything. She’s getting so big,” said Stephanie Landmesser of Jenkins Township, about her 8-month old daughter Caitlyn. The little girl is crawling and standing, milestones that are normal for her age. But all wasn’t exactly normal when Caitlyn was born.
“They told me it was very common, a lot of babies have it, but I never heard of it before,” Stephanie said.
She couldn’t tell by looking at her, but an ultrasound found that Caitlyn had infant hip dysplasia, when the hip joint doesn’t form normally.
Dr. Stacy Frye works in pediatric orthopaedics at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. She explains that Caitlyn’s left hip wasn’t completely out of socket- or dislocated- it just wasn’t well enough in the socket.
“Loose hips are very common, actually. In the majority of these babies, that will tighten up after the first 6 weeks of life. If it’s loose after that point, we need to evaluate for hip dysplasia,” said Dr. Frye.
Infant hip dysplasia is more common in a firstborn, in a female baby, if mom had low fluid levels during pregnancy, or in a bigger than usual baby.
Caitlyn was treated using what’s called a Pavlik harness, something she wore 23 hours a day for 18 weeks.
“I remember crying the first day I brought her home with it- didn’t know what to do- it was difficult to change diapers,” recalls Stephanie.
But she- and Caitlyn- got used to the treatment, and today the little girl’s hip is fixed for good.
“She’s doing great. Her last exam is normal, and you can tell she’s busy! Her hip looks fantastic,” said Dr. Frye.
If infant hip dysplasia isn’t treated, a variety of problems could develop in childhood, such as a limp, early arthritis, or general joint pain.