Hip Dislocation

Also known as: traumatic hip dislocation.

What is hip dislocation?

The hip joint is comprised of the head of the thighbone (femur) being positioned in a socket in the pelvis (acetabulum). When an accident or injury forces the thighbone out of the hip socket, this is known as a hip dislocation.

What causes hip dislocation?

A hip dislocation requires major force. The most common cause is a car accident, but falls from heights or severe sports injuries (typically while playing football) can cause a dislocated hip.

What are the symptoms of hip dislocation?

Extreme pain, inability to move the leg and possible loss of sensation to the foot or ankle are common symptoms of hip dislocation.

What complications can arise from hip dislocation?

A hip dislocation can have potential long-term consequences for health, particularly if it goes untreated. This can include arthritis of the hip joints or compression of the sciatic nerve that can lead to pain known as sciatica or the inability to flex your foot or toes.

Another possible complication is known as osteonecrosis, which is when blood flow to the bone is disrupted. Ultimately, the complications of hip dislocation can lead to a hip replacement later in life.

What are hip dislocation care options?

Doctors treat a hip dislocation by placing the head of the femur back in the socket. This typically can be done without surgery, although surgery is sometimes required. Additionally, if bone fragments or other debris are caught in the hip socket, surgery may be required after the hip has been placed in the socket.

What are other treatments for hip dislocation?

If a hip dislocation leads to other complications such as arthritis, then the patient may require a hip replacement later in life. This is a major procedure that may require a brace to stabilize the hip while it heals.

What does the hip dislocation rehabilitation process look like?

After the hip dislocation is corrected by placing the femur back in the socket (reduction) or via surgery, your healthcare provider may recommend limiting hip movement for a few weeks, along with using crutches for walking.

Physical therapy is also important during the recovery process. The typical recovery time from a hip dislocation is two to three months.

Reviewed by: Kevin S Horowitz, MD

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2024 01:37 PM

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