This month families and health professionals across the country are celebrating Healthy Hips Week from 23 - 29 April. According to Healthy Hips Australia, one in 6 newborns will have some hip instability. The good news is that it is treatable. We spoke to Clinical Nurse Educator and Hip Trainer, Marea Hyatt, to find out more about Healthy Hips Week and why it is important.
Healthy Hips Week is all about creating community awareness of hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is when the ball shaped bone at the top of your thigh does not fit securely into the socket, creating an unstable hip. Ms Hyatt describes this instability as a “click or a clunk” when the hip is moved or a “looseness of the hip”. For some babies, their hips dislocate early in life.
Unfortunately there is not a lot you can do to avoid hip dysplasia. “There are risk factors for hip dysplasia like family history, being female, the first born child or a breech birth. Parents can’t do anything about these things” says Ms Hyatt. However Ms Hyatt does recommend that parents avoid swaddling or wrapping baby’s legs up tight as this can increase the risk.
The signs of hip dysplasia are not always clear either. Babies with hip dysplasia may have one leg that is longer than the other, stiffness in one hip or they might have an uneven number of creases in their legs. “But there may be no signs” says Ms Hyatt.
Hip dysplasia might sound scary but don’t worry – it is treatable and we are here to help. Your baby will have their hips checked after birth and at their first Personal Health Record (or PHR) check. Your Child and Family Health Nurse or your local doctor will continue to check your child’s hips as they grow.
Your Blue Book will tell you when to have your child’s health and development checked. However if you are worried about your child’s hips you don’t have to wait until their next check-up. You can call the Child Health Information Link on 9562 5400, Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm or you can contact your local doctor.
For more information on Healthy Hips Week and hip dysplasia visit Healthy Hips Australia.