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Medical Edge: Hip Instability

Updated: 07/18/2013 6:51 PM
Created: 07/18/2013 10:36 AM KSTP.com

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Little Skylar was born with infant hip instability in her right hip, an issue doctors identified hours after she was born.

Hip instability happens when the hip socket isn’t deep enough (which is dysplasia) or because ligaments are loose and allow the ball to slip out of the socket.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure that the ball is inside the socket while those ligaments tighten up and then those ligaments can hold the ball deep and securely inside the socket,” Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon Anthony Stans said.

The sooner you treat hip instability, the easier it is to correct.

“If detected certainly in the first three months of life, it can be treated with something other than a cast.”

And without surgery. Skylar wears a harness.

The position holds the ball of her hip firmly in the socket so the ligaments tighten properly and stabilize the joint.

She has to wear the brace for 24 hours a day for about 9 weeks, then 12 hours a day for 6 more weeks.

Skylar isn’t really bothered by it at all. And four to six months in a brace is nothing compared to wearing a restrictive cast, enduring surgery, or having a hip replacement down the road because of severe arthritis.

What causes hip instability and dysplasia? Risk factors include: a positive family history, breach birth, being first born and being female – girls are six times more likely to have it than boys.