Which is better: a Freak cushion or Pavlik stirrups?

From the first months after birth, your baby needs a lot of attention. The development of bone and muscle tissue is constant, and he is already making his first steps around the room. At this point, it is important to pay attention to how the child puts his feet. If he limps or rolls over, this may indicate hip dysplasia.


  1. What is the purpose of the prescription
  2. Pavlik stirrups
  3. Frake’s Pillow
  4. How long to wear
  5. The right size
Freck's cushion or Pavlik's stirrups

The exact causes of the manifestation of the pathology are unknown, so parents should be especially attentive to the baby. Doctors identify predisposing factors:

  1. Genetic predisposition (transmitted more often in the female line);
  2. An excess of progesterone in a woman before childbirth (disrupts the development of ligaments and muscles in the baby)
  3. Restricted mobility of the fetus in the uterus due to an incorrect position;
  4. Maternal illness and negative factors at the stage of pregnancy;
  5. Prematurity (tissues have not had time to develop properly).

In 80% of cases, dysplasia occurs in girls. If the mother has had problems in childhood, the child may have them. Reinforces the negative factors of disease, prematurity of the fetus, disturbed hormonal background.

What do they use it for??

Today, the issue of treatment of hip dysplasia is well studied, so a number of effective methods are used. For this purpose, a Freck’s cushion or Pavlik’s stirrups are used to hold the baby’s legs in a bifurcated position. It contributes to the proper development of ligamentous and muscular tissues and the formation of functionality. It remains to decide which of these devices is better and how they differ from each other.

The Frekeh cushion and Pavlik stirrups are used for similar tasks:

  1. Keeping the femoral head in the correct position;
  2. Strengthening the ligaments and muscles of the hip joint;
  3. Stimulation of the development of the acetabulum and femoral head.

Once research had established exactly how dysplasia in babies should be treated, various specialists began to develop devices for this.

Pavlik’s stirrups

Pavlik stirrups

The device, created by Czech orthopedist Arnold Pavlik, firmly fixes the baby’s legs in a bifurcated position. It cannot straighten or bring them together. The current version of the device is a system of bandages and straps worn on the child’s chest and shoulders, and attached to the ankle with straps.

Pavlik stirrups should only be used under the supervision of an orthopedist, who selects the optimal length. Adaptation takes 3-4 days, during which the straps are pulled up to the desired length. The amplitude of leg extension is maintained throughout the entire wear. The rate of complications does not exceed 15%.


  • A tight fixation of the legs in the correct position;
  • Treatment of severe cases of dysplasia;
  • Recommended up to 1 year of age;
  • Easy length adjustment;


  • Risk of dislocation of the femoral head due to the mounting peculiarities.

Pavlik stirrups are recognized as an effective means of treating hip dysplasia in its various manifestations. But requires regular follow-up with an orthopedist, who identifies developmental abnormalities. The stirrups must stay dry during wear, otherwise they have a rough effect on the baby’s skin.

Frake’s Pillow

The Freck pillow

The Freik pillow fits under the knees and secures the legs in a bent position. The baby takes the shape of a “frog”, in which the muscles develop properly. The appliance promotes spontaneous repositioning of the dislocation without complicated and dangerous exposure. It is a thick pad between the baby’s knees and is held in a physiologically correct position by special straps.

The Freik splint is recommended for use in the early stages of development, from 1 to 3 months. If there is suspicion of abnormal development, the pediatrician sends to an orthopedist, and he conducts an ultrasound examination and X-rays. Do not treat it on your own.


  • Gentle effect on the baby;
  • There is no adaptation period;
  • is allowed to be removed;
  • soft and comfortable splint;


  • restriction of movement;
  • Only suitable for mild cases.

Freak cushions are prescribed by specialists in the first six months of your baby’s life and act more as a preventive measure than a full-fledged treatment. This is especially true in difficult situations with dislocations and subluxations of the hip. Studies show that the Freik splint produces complications in 15% of cases – slightly more than the Pavlik stirrup, but still a low rate.

How long to wear?

How long to wear

It is recommended to wear it for twelve to twenty-four hours a day, depending on the physician’s instructions. The total duration of the course for infants is no more than 2 months. The earlier deviations are detected, the easier and quicker treatment. In some situations, for preventive purposes, the Freik’s featherbed is prescribed until 1.5-2 years of age.

As with any orthotic, it must be worn at all times. It is only allowed to be removed in certain cases:

  1. Diaper changing;
  2. Bathing and obligatory water procedures;
  3. Wellness massage;
  4. Doctor-prescribed physical therapy procedures.

The rest of the baby’s free time is spent with his feet fixed. Throughout the period, the orthopedist regularly examines the infant. A two-weekly ultrasound examination is advisable to determine the extent of change.

The main difference and disadvantage of Pavlik stirrups is the need for constant wear, especially in the first month. Because of this, they are prescribed only for sprains and subluxations after 6 months of birth. Restrictions cause difficulties with everyday procedures – bathing, changing diapers, changing clothes.

Parents should follow the recommendations of specialists:

  1. Wear only disposable diapers under the stirrups, remove shorts, onesies, pantyhose and other clothing;
  2. when changing a diaper, try not to lift your baby’s legs, but simply tuck your hands under his or her thighs;
  3. The straps of the straps must stay dry, otherwise they will rub the skin, and inspect your baby regularly to see if they are damaged;
  4. Reddened areas should be treated and massaged to prevent bruising;
  5. Because of the difficulty with bathing, it is better to use a wet sponge and wipe the baby several times a day;
  6. Choose loose-fitting outfits and dresses to wear over the sling;
  7. Loosen the breast support belt during and after breastfeeding for 1 hour.


Throughout the treatment of dislocations, the baby should only be placed on firm mattresses without pillows.

Since we are talking about the systematic correction of hip disorders, it is important to systematically follow the recommendations of doctors. Regardless of which device is used, it should be worn for the entire period. Parents feel sorry for babies, so they take off bandages, but this leads to displacement and loss of all positive progress. It is important to remember that it will help to avoid serious complications in the future, it is necessary for his health.

Choosing the right size

To save your baby from discomfort, follow the instructions for use, regularly check with your doctor, choose the right size bandages. Freik cushions are available with markings according to the age of the child and with the distance between the legs spread. Pavlik’s stirrups have a roughly similar system:

  1. Size 0 – for children from 3 months, up to 60 cm tall, up to 5 kg;
  2. Size 1 – for children from 6 months, up to 60 cm, up to 8 kg;
  3. 2 size – for children under 1 year, up to 75 cm, up to 11 kg
  4. Size 3 – for children up to 15 months, up to 85 cm, up to 10-12 kg;
  5. 4 size – for children under 1.5 years of age, up to 95 cm, up to 13 kg.

An orthopedic doctor will help you choose the right size and determine the distance to which the baby’s legs should be spread. In this way the discomfort is minimized and the treatment is effective.


In the following articles our experts tell you how to choose the right ergo backpack, you will also learn what is better – sling or kangaroo and secrets of choice sling.

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