Hip instability: A review of hip dysplasia and other contributing factors

Matthew J. Kraeutler, Tigran Garabekyan, Cecilia Pascual-Garrido, Omer Mei-Dan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Hip instability has classically been associated with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) in newborns and children. However, numerous factors may contribute to hip instability in children, adolescents, and adults. Purpose: This review aims to concisely present the literature on hip instability in patients of all ages in order to guide health care professionals in the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of the various disorders which may contribute to an unstable hip. Methods: We reviewed the literature on the diagnosis and surgical management of hip dysplasia and other causes of hip instability. Conclusions: Multiple intra-and extra-articular variables may contribute to hip instability, including acetabular bony coverage, femoral torsion, femoroacetabular impingement, and soft tissue laxity. Physical examination and advanced imaging studies are essential to accurately diagnose the pathology contributing to a patient’s unstable hip. Conservative management, including activity modification and physical therapy, may be used as a first-line treatment in patients with intra-articular hip pathology. Patients who continue to experience symptoms of pain or instability should proceed with arthroscopic or open surgical treatment aimed at correcting the underlying pathology. Level of evidence: V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-353
Number of pages11
JournalMuscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip
  • Femoral anteversion
  • Femoroacetabular impingement
  • Hip instability
  • Periacetabular osteotomy


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