Hip Dislocation
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Hip Dislocation

(Dislocated Hip; Dislocation, Hip)

En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition

A hip dislocation occurs when the ball of the thighbone (femur) moves out of place within the socket of the pelvic bone (acetabulum). This ball and socket forms the hip joint.

The Hip Joint

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Causes

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

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing this condition. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Severe pain in the hip, especially when attempting to move the leg
  • Leg on the affected side appears shorter than the other leg
  • Hip joint appears deformed
  • Pain or numbness along the sciatic nerve area (back of thighs) if injury presses on this nerve

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, how the injury occurred, and will examine your hip and leg.

Tests may include:

  • X-ray—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
  • CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body, used to view fractures of the pelvis

Treatment

Treatments include:

Closed Reduction

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:

Open Reduction

If closed reduction is doesn't work, you may need surgery. Open reduction is often needed if the thigh or pelvic bones are also broken.

Prevention

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 seatbelt in the car.
  • Obey speed limits and other traffic laws.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Wear proper safety equipment for sports.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://www.aaos.org/

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.aossm.org/tabs/Index.aspx/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

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

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org/

References:

Canale ST, Campbell WC. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics . 9th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 1998.

Hip dislocation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated February 2008. Accessed July 7, 2008.

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 October 2007 by Robert E. Leach, 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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