Skip to Content
CALL: (908) 486-1111 or
TEXT: (908) 224-4639
CALL: (908) 486-1111 or
TEXT: (908) 224-4639
Se Habla Español

Hip Dislocation

A hip dislocation occurs when the ball-shaped head of the femur (thigh bone) is forced out of its normal position within the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis, known as the acetabulum. This displacement disrupts the normal alignment of the hip joint. Hip dislocations are usually caused by significant trauma or force, such as a car accident, a high-energy fall, or certain sports injuries.

There are two main types of hip dislocations:

Posterior Dislocation: This is the most common type of hip dislocation. In a posterior dislocation, the femoral head is forced backward out of the socket. The thigh bone moves toward the back of the pelvis. This type of dislocation is often caused by a forceful impact to the front of the knee or lower leg when the hip is flexed.

Anterior Dislocation: Anterior dislocation is less common. In this type, the femoral head is forced forward out of the socket. The thigh bone moves toward the front of the pelvis. Anterior dislocations can be caused by force applied to the back of the thigh when the hip is in an extended position.

Symptoms of a hip dislocation can include:

  • Severe pain in the hip and groin area.
  • Inability to move the affected leg.
  • The affected leg may appear shorter or turned outward.
  • Swelling and bruising around the hip.
  • Limited mobility and difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg.

Hip dislocations are considered medical emergencies and require immediate attention. They can cause significant damage to the surrounding ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves, and there’s also a risk of damage to the joint’s blood supply, which could lead to complications like avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to lack of blood flow).

Treatment for a hip dislocation involves reducing the dislocation, which means manipulating the femoral head back into its normal position within the socket. This procedure is typically done under sedation or anesthesia to manage pain. After reduction, the individual may need to wear a brace or undergo physical therapy to support the joint during the healing process and regain strength and mobility.

In some cases, hip dislocations can lead to long-term complications, including chronic pain, joint instability, and an increased risk of future dislocations. Rehabilitation and follow-up care are crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome and minimizing the risk of complications.

A hip dislocation injury is a traumatic event in which the ball-shaped head of the femur (thigh bone) is forcefully pushed out of its normal location within the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis (acetabulum). This results in the misalignment of the hip joint and can cause significant damage to the surrounding structures, including ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves. Hip dislocations are usually the result of high-energy impacts or accidents, such as car crashes, falls from a height, or certain sports-related collisions.

When a hip dislocation occurs, the severity of the injury can vary, but common features of a hip dislocation injury include:

  • Severe Pain: Individuals experience intense pain in the hip and groin area due to the disruption of the joint and the stretching or tearing of ligaments and soft tissues.
  • Restricted Mobility: The affected leg is typically immobilized due to pain and the altered position of the femur in relation to the acetabulum. Attempting to move the leg can be extremely painful.
  • Deformity: The leg may appear shorter and rotated outward or inward compared to the unaffected leg, depending on the type of dislocation.
  • Swelling & Bruising: The hip area may become swollen & bruised due to the impact and trauma that caused the dislocation.
  • Numbness or Tingling: Damage to nerves and blood vessels can lead to sensations of numbness, tingling, or even loss of sensation in the leg.
  • Visible Displacement: In some cases, a visual deformity may be evident, with the hip appearing visibly out of place.
  • Limited Weight Bearing: Individuals are usually unable to bear weight on the affected leg due to pain and joint instability.

Hip dislocations are considered medical emergencies. Immediate medical attention is necessary to assess the injury, manage pain, and address any associated complications. Medical professionals, often in an emergency department, will perform imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans to confirm the diagnosis and determine the best approach for reducing the dislocation and stabilizing the joint.

Treatment typically involves a procedure to manipulate the femoral head back into its proper position, a process known as reduction. This is often done under anesthesia or sedation. Following reduction, individuals may need to use crutches or braces and undergo physical therapy to aid in recovery, restore joint function, and prevent future complications. The specific treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of the hip dislocation and any additional injuries that may have occurred.