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Congenital Hip Dysplasia (CHD) refers to the abnormal or delayed development of the hip joint, in which the socket and thigh bone can become dislocated. This condition occurs in 1.5 per 1,000 births and is 8 times more common in girls [1]. Normally, a child’s thigh bone (femur) sits perfectly centred in the hip socket (acetabulum). Occasionally, however, during gestation or shortly thereafter, the two parts become unaligned, allowing excess movement in the joint. Usually this involves the femur moving upward out of the socket.

CHD can lead to many physical problems during life, including leg and hip pain, a limp, limited range of motion, legs of different lengths, and early on-set arthritis. The risk factors for this condition are being the first born, female, a breech delivery and family history. Early detection of CHD is vital to ensure the development of the joints can be corrected and prevent long-term problems.

There are clinical signs picked up by a chiropractor that are a warning for this condition:

-Shortening of one leg
-Increase in asymmetry at the thigh skin folds
-Limited outward flexibility of the hip in a flexed position due to shortening and contracting of muscles
-Waddling type of walk
-Clunking noise in hip when walking

However some children may not exhibit any of these signs and it is not until a physical examination of the hip joints occurs where the dysfunction is noted. Chiropractors can perform simple checks for hip problems as part of routine post-natal checks that all newborns should attend six times in their first year of life. If a problem is detected, chiropractic adjustments can assist in restoring the joint to its proper functioning. Chiropractic uses strengthening, range of motion exercises, pain control and functional activities. Your Chiropractor can also issue take home exercises to continue the strengthening and rehabilitation process from home to complement the chiropractors treatment.

To ensure that your child has the best chance of healthy development, it is important to detect problems early. A simple, fast check-up with a chiropractor may be the best action you ever take for your child’s long-term health and happiness.