How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?

Physical Exam

During the physical examination, your provider will discuss your medical history and symptoms. They will move your hip in different directions to assess the range of motion and duplicate the pain or discomfort he or she is feeling.


In most cases, adolescent hip dysplasia can be diagnosed with just a physical exam. Imaging tests may be used to rule out other causes for your pain and to help confirm the diagnosis.

(Left) This x-ray shows two normal hips. (Right) This x-ray shows a dysplastic hip. The hip socket is shallow and there is only partial coverage of the femoral head.

  • X-rays. Insert Hip Dysplasia Xray image. These provide images of dense structures such as bone, and will help your doctor assess the alignment of the acetabulum and femoral head. An x-ray can also show signs of arthritis.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans. More detailed than a plain x-ray, CT scans can help your doctor establish the degree of dysplasia.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These studies can create better images of the body's soft tissues. An MRI can help your doctor find damage to the labrum and articular cartilage.