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Hip Dislocation

(Dislocated Hip; Dislocation, Hip)

Definition

A hip dislocation is when the ball of the thigh bone moves out of place within the socket of the pelvic bone. It is not common.
The Hip Joint
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Causes

Causes are:
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • A collision

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
  • Prior hip replacement surgery
  • Doing activities that involve heights, such as being on a ladder
  • Playing certain sports, such as football, rugby, skiing, and snowboarding
  • Health problems that result in falls, such as weak muscles
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Having an abnormal hip joint

Symptoms

Problems may be:
  • Pain in the hip, especially when trying to move the leg
  • Pain that spreads to the legs, knees, and back
  • One leg that looks shorter than the other
  • Problems walking

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked how the injury happened. A hip and leg exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be taken of your bones. This can be done with:

Treatment

It may take 2 to 3 months to heal. The goals of treatment are to put the bones back in place. This may be done:
  • Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to ease pain while the doctor moves the ball of the thigh bone back into the hip socket
  • With surgery—tissue or bone fragments may be removed before the ball of the thigh bone can be put back into the hip socket
These treatments will also be needed:
  • Rest and ice
  • Pain relievers
  • A splint or sling to keep the hip still as it heals
  • Exercises to help with hip strength, flexibility, and range of motion

Prevention

Most hip dislocations are due to accidents. The risk may be lowered by:
  • Wearing a seat belt in motor vehicles
  • Wear safety gear when playing contact sports or working
  • Strengthening the muscles around the hip joints

RESOURCES

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.sportsmed.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

References

Hendey GW, Avila A. The Captain Morgan technique for the reduction of the dislocated hip. Ann Emerg Med. 2011 Dec;58(6):536-540.
Hip dislocation. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/hip-dislocation. Updated June 2014. Accessed May 12, 2020.
Hip dislocations. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/hip-dislocations. Updated May 28, 2014. Accessed May 12, 2020.
Hip dislocation—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/hip-dislocation-emergency-management . Accessed May 12, 2020.

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