Hip dysplasia and arthritis

Hip dysplasia and arthritis

Hip dysplasia is the reason for 5% to 10% of hip osteoarthritis in the USA (FT Hoaglund, JAAOS, 9:320-7, 2001). However, some researchers have estimated even higher rates. Based on the number of total hip replacements in 2012, just 5% would be about 22,000 hip replacements because of dysplasia. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2014 Report) The financial costs of that alone should encourage investment in ways to decrease the burden of hip dysplasia.

To make matters worse, hip dysplasia is the most common cause of hip arthritis in women younger than fifty. So, not only does hip dysplasia cause arthritis, but this type of arthritis affects mostly women who would otherwise expect many years of active lifestyle. A prominent example is Mary Lou Retton, who won five medals in gymnastics at the 1984 Olympics including becoming the first American woman to win the All Around Gold Medal. Mary Lou Retton had been “successfully” treated for hip dysplasia as an infant, but required total hip replacements at age 37. Men are also affected. A noted Korean soccer star, Cho Jae-jin, was an outstanding striker for South Korea’s World Cup football team until he was forced to retire at age of 30.

Hip dysplasia is the most common abnormality in newborn infants but many people have only heard of hip dysplasia in dogs. It’s time to change that level of awareness and it’s time to find ways of preventing arthritis caused by hip dysplasia. This should be possible because many of the contributing factors to hip dysplasia may be under our control. We know that genetics plays a role but that’s just the beginning. Hip dysplasia is more common in babies born in winter months and in Northern climates. It’s more common in babies who were swaddled tightly shortly after birth. These may represent mechanical factors or nutritional factors that could be improved. There are also known risk factors that help diagnose the condition as early as possible when simpler methods of treatment may help prevent later arthritis. Also, improved treatments may produce better outcomes so arthritis is less likely as the patient grows older.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute – IHDI – is conducting research into nutrition, early childhood practices, mechanical causes, and improved treatment methods that may be under our influence to help decrease the burden of disability, arthritis, and financial strain caused by this common condition. The IHDI is making some amazing headway but more money would be put to good use and would allow us to achieve our goals even faster. Thanks for any help that you might provide.

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