Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip — huh?!?

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a failure of the hip joint to develop normally.  For some people, DDH is identified when they are babies (because the hip is completely dislocated).  For others, the joint simply doesn’t develop normally over time.  I am one of this latter group.

Unless you are well versed in anatomy, I would HIGHLY suggest you first check out this animated video that shows the anatomy of a hip:

This is also a great Q&A with my surgeon, all about dysplasia and the procedures that may be recommended:

In DDH, the acetabulum does not develop into the “nice curved shape” that fits with the head of the femur — the socket is too shallow or does not sufficiently cover the femoral head.  The labrum will try to compensate for the lack of sufficient coverage and will become enlarged (hypertrophic).  Over time, the labrum will not be able to withstand the wear and tear and will, itself, tear.  In my case, it started giving up last summer when I was 34 years old.

I have a hypertrophic labrum in my right hip and have multiple tears in the labrum on both sides of my body.  I found out about the hypertrophic labrum after the doctor who did my arthroscopic surgery discovered it while repairing a tear.  The hypertrophic labrum was not visible on the MRI scans that had been performed.  I will not know if I have a hypertrophic labrum in my left hip until I have surgery to repair the hip.

If not treated, DDH may result in pain, osteoarthritis, and often, total hip replacement surgery later in life.  Once pain starts, it’s a sign that the joint can no longer compensate for the abnormal structure.

A great deal of the above information is taken, in some instances word-for-word, from “A Guide for Adults with Hip Dysplasia,” a must-have purchase and invaluable resource for anyone suffering with hip dysplasia or anyone facing a hip surgery:  Other information, as well as the x-rays, come from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute and can be accessed here: