Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) | Diagnosis

How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?

The first step to treating developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is to form a complete and accurate diagnosis. The doctor will take your child’s history, including the position of the baby during pregnancy and the family history, including any hip problems.

The doctor will also do a physical exam and can often feel the ball popping in and out of the socket. The exam may include diagnostic tests to get detailed images of your child’s hip joint, including an ultrasound of the hip or an x-ray.

Typical tests can include:

  • Ultrasound (sonogram): Ultrasound is the preferred way to diagnose hip dysplasia in babies up to 6 months of age. It uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the femoral head (ball) and the acetabulum (socket).
  • X-ray: After a child is 6 months of age, x-rays are the more reliable test for the child, because additional bone forming into the head of the femur interferes with the accuracy of the ultrasound imaging. X-rays are also used to diagnose hip dysplasia in older children, adolescents and adults.