| Risk Factors
A hip dislocation occurs when the ball of the thighbone moves out of place within the socket of the pelvic bone. This ball and socket form the hip joint.
The Hip Joint
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Hip dislocations are relatively rare and severe injuries. They are often associated with
pelvic fractures. A normal hip joint is stable and strong. A hip dislocation can only occur when a strong force is applied to the hip joint, such as:
- Severe falls, especially from heights
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports injuries, especially from football, rugby, skiing, and snowboarding
Factors that can increase your chance of developing this condition include:
- Severe pain in the hip, especially when attempting to move the leg
- Pain that spreads to the legs, knees, and back
- Leg on the affected side appears shorter than the other leg
- Hip joint appears deformed
- Pain or numbness along the back of thighs if injury presses on the sciatic nerve
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. An exam of your your hip and leg will be done.
Images may be taken of your bones. This can be done with:
The doctor will manipulate the thigh and leg. This is to try to put the ball of the femur back into the hip socket. You may be given medications to relax, such as:
In some cases, surgery is needed. Open reduction is often done if:
- Closed reduction is unsuccessful
- Bony fragments or soft tissue remain in the joint space
- The joint remains unstable
- The thigh or pelvic bones are also broken
There are no guidelines for preventing hip dislocation. Most come from car accidents or sports injuries. To reduce your risk, take the following steps:
- Wear your seat belt in the car.
- Obey speed limits and other traffic laws.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Wear proper safety equipment for sports.
Canale ST, Campbell WC.
Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 9th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 1998.
Roberts JR, Hedges JR, Bell MH.
Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: WB Saunders Company; 1998.
Rosen P, et al.
Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book, Inc; 1998.
Last reviewed March 2013 by John C. Keel, MD;
Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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