Following reports that the number of hip replacements for the under 60s has risen by 76% in the last decade (1), Spica Warrior, the UK's only developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) dedicated charity, is calling for greater awareness of the condition and effective early screening of babies.
DDH occurs when the ball and socket hip joint fails to develop correctly and whilst not life threatening, if left untreated it can lead to disability, long-term pain, arthritis and ultimately hip replacements.
Founder, Natalie Trice, who is also a member of the International Advisory Board for the International Hip Dysplasia Institute said: "With an ageing population, and the continuing late diagnosis of DDH in babies, children young adults, we weren't shocked by the results out today. We are speaking to an increasing number of people whose DDH was diagnosed late and have subsequently faced years of surgery and hip replacements.
"When it comes to DDH, early diagnosis is vital. A consistent, strict screening process and professionals being aware of the signs of DDH could mean the difference between healthy hips and a child who ends up in constant pain. My son was a late diagnosis and he is now six and still enduring operations and uncertainty but and we aren't alone."
Hannah Purdy, 21, commented: "Hip dysplasia has played a major part in my entire life. I was often in excruciating pain and had a hip replacement when I was 17, which was really tough. I set up HappyHips and support nearly 200 young people through hip issues, many of whom are facing a hip replacement before their 40s. I believe better screening and early detection could change this and make life so much better for many."
Those most at risk are babies where there is a family history of hip problems, those in the breech position or with a fixed foot deformity or torticollis. Not all cases are identified at birth but if parents notice uneven creases in their child's legs and buttocks, clicking of the hips or a limited range of motion it is vital they speak to their GP or health visitor.