Hip Dislocations

Hip dislocations occur when the ball joint of the hip slips out of the hip socket. A hip dislocation is a medical emergency that is very painful, disabling, and can damage the structures around the joint.


Hip dislocations are usually the result of a traumatic injury, such as a car accident or fall. In normal circumstances, significant force is necessary to push the hip joint out of its socket. However, dislocations are more common in those with hip dysplasia or who have had a hip replacement.


When a hip dislocation occurs, severe pain and inability to move the leg will be noticeable. Swelling, muscle spasms, and the hip visibly out of place are all common. If nerves are impacted, loss of sensation in the foot or ankle may occur.


Physicians can diagnose a hip dislocation from a physical exam. Imaging tests such as x-rays and CT scans may also be required to identify the dislocation and how the bones are positioned.


Hip dislocations must be treated by a medical professional to minimize long-term damage. If there are no broken bones or other injuries, a physician can correct the hip back into the socket. Surgery may be required if nerves or soft tissue have been affected. Following treatment, physical therapy may be required to assist with healing and mobility.

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