If you are like most new parents, you delivered your baby and expected to go home with a healthy newborn a few days later. Unfortunately, that is not always possible and one reason for the concern is known as either congenital hip dislocation, dysplasia of the hip or other similar terms. Your son or daughter's congenital hip weakness may have been diagnosed as part of the screening soon after birth or at any time prior to their first birthday. Regardless, the use of physical braces, physical therapy and on-going care is essential to your baby's recovery and therefore, it is best to understand the details pertaining to each of those steps when making the appropriate care plan.

#1-The Pavlich Harness

The Pavlich Harness is a brace that goes over your child's shoulders, across the chest and holds the legs at a specific angle. Its goal is to immobilize the joint in question and it is important to note that regardless of whether your baby is symptomatic in one or both hips, the brace will treat both hips since doing so for just one hip is very challenging. You should expect to have regular visits with the specialist to evaluate the improvement and adjust the fit of the brace as your baby grows.         

#2-Surgical Intervention

Although the use of a Pavlich Harness has helped many patients, some children will need to have surgery to repair the problem. A closed reduction procedure is common and includes manually placing the affected hip within the joint after surgically loosening the tendon that controls the pressure on the hip. It follows up with casting of the area to guarantee specific and controlled pressure of the joint and babies may need to wear the cast for up to six months,

 Alternatively, an open reduction may be needed for babies who did not improve as expected after the closed-reduction and is helpful if tests have established a blockage in the joint that is causing the hip joint to fail. Therefore, the joint is surgically opened, unnecessary tissue or blockages are removed and the joint is replaced into the proper area, before completing the surgery and eventually casting.     

#3-Physical Therapy And Its Impact

At some point during your baby's treatment, physical therapy is likely to be suggested. Whether it is to encourage normal movement as the overall condition of the hip joint improves or to improve the development of the muscles providing support to the hip and legs, physical therapy can improve the overall functionality of the joint in the future. 

The extent and frequency of physical therapy will often be determined on a case-by-case basis and typically depends on your baby's overall health, gestational age and size. Massage, exercise ball training and special adaptive equipment that limits the weight placed upon the joints in question are all common. In addition, it will also be helpful to ask about the appropriate use of props during physical therapy at home or in the office, as they can assist with providing the exact amount of pressure that is safe for damaged hip joints.   

In conclusion, physical therapy can play a crucial role in helping your baby obtain normal movement and function when he or she has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, whether the problem occurs in one or both hips. Effective and appropriate treatment is essential to providing your little one with the ability to crawl, walk and run with their peers in the future with as few delays as possible. Contact a business, such as Advanced Physical Therapy, for more information.