Hip dysplasia

Authored by Michael O’Brien – Lifecare Malvern

Hip pain is one of the most common causes of lower limb musculoskeletal pain. Not only do hip injuries have the potential to cause issues later in life, there are often times when younger adults are also burdened by hip pain. This can affect you at a time when sporting, work or family commitments can be physically demanding. Depending on the severity of your hip pain, it can be overcome so you can continue to perform everyday activities without discomfort.

What is hip dysplasia

A common cause of hip pain is hip dysplasia, which is the leading condition of early-onset hip osteoarthritis. Hip dysplasia refers to the misalignment between the ball and socket with issues regarding the shape, size or orientation of the bones. This can lead to instability and overloading of certain structures. Some adults have leftover problems from childhood hip dysplasia but often they don’t realise there is a problem until their hip starts hurting.

Are you at risk

Hip dysplasia is most commonly associated with females (though certain sub-types are more common in males), first born, breech birth and family history. The first sign of hip dysplasia in an adolescent or young adult is hip pain and/or a limp. Pain is usually felt in the groin area, but can also occur on the side or back of your hip. Often there is a sensation of catching, snapping or popping in addition to pain with activities.

Overcoming hip dysplasia

Treatment for hip dysplasia varies depending on many factors including your age, the exact structural formation, and how much it is affecting your daily activities. There is emerging research showing that a tailored strengthening program can be effective in managing this condition and reducing pain and limitations. Other effective treatment strategies can include lifestyle modifications (e.g. changing workplace setup), monitoring specific loads during sports, cross-training to maintain or improve general fitness, and manual therapy for pain relief. In severe cases surgical procedures, such as a Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO), followed by a period of rehabilitation may be required.

Hip & Groin Clinic at Lifecare

Effective treatment requires the correct diagnosis. Adults with hip dysplasia on average see more than three healthcare providers and have symptoms for five years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. You may want to consider getting a second opinion if your hip pain is getting worse for no apparent reason.

See how Lifecare Malvern’s speciality Hip and groin service can help you diagnose and manage your hip pain.