Hip Instability: Birth to Six Months


Hip instability is a spectrum of problems related to the development of the hip. The newborn may present with a complete hip dislocation that can easily be reduced into the acetabulum. More commonly, laxity of the hip capsule allows the examiner to displace the femoral head partially or completely out of the acetabulum.

The natural history of untreated hip instability in the newborn is variable. The hip may spontaneously become stable and develop normally. The hip may remain dislocated or dislocate over time and become irreducible. Hips with instability at birth may develop dysplasia, with or without progressive subluxation.

Treatment options for children diagnosed with hip dislocation depend on the child?s age at presentation. This article reviews the pathophysiology and etiology of hip instability in infants. Diagnosis of hip instability is reviewed, particularly physical examination, imaging, and differential diagnosis. Management options available for treatment.are reviewed, including the proper use, treatment guidelines, and outcomes for the Pavlik harness.

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