Baby Hip Health from Steps

This booklet is for all parents. It explains why a baby’s hips are checked at birth, what the tests are and what happens if a problem is found. It also tells you how to keep your child’s hips healthy

How does a baby’s hip grow?

The hip joint is called a ball and socket joint. The top of the thigh bone is ball-shaped and fits into a socket on the side of the pelvis. This allows the leg to move both up and down and side to side.

For the hip joint to grow normally the ball-shaped head of the thighbone needs to be inside the cup-shaped socket. It is held in place by ligaments, muscles and a joint capsule. Very young babies’ hips are made of soft cartilage which changes into bone over the first few years. For the joint to grow properly the ball and socket have to be held firmly in the right place.