Often the dysplastic hip of a newborn baby goes back into the socket very easily because the mother’s relaxing hormones are still in the baby. Doctors will normally use the least aggressive treatment they can to achieve the desired outcome.
When dislocated or unstable hips in newborn infants can easily be realigned, usually a brace or harness is used that holds the legs in a better position for the hip while the socket and ligaments become more stable. This encourages normal development of the hip joint.
Hip abduction braces are also commonly used immediately following treatments involving a spica cast. This time in a brace helps to reintroduce more range of motion to the hips while the hip is growing and becoming more stable.
There are a wide variety of positioning devices available, but the most common type is the Pavlik Harness. In addition to this, other braces called fixed abduction braces are commonly used.
The choice of device depends on the needs of the family and the treatment experience of the doctor. Most doctors recommend full-time wear for 6-12 weeks with any brace. However some doctors allow removal for bathing and diaper changes as long as the legs are kept apart to keep the hip’s ball aligned with the socket.
After the hips become stable, the brace is normally worn part time, usually at night, for another 4-6 weeks.