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What Are the Symptoms of a Dislocated Hip?

Does your hip feel swollen, painful, or is it visibly out of place? You may be experiencing symptoms of a dislocated hip. Learn the signs to look out for and the types of treatments a hip specialist offers to get started on a rapid and safe road to recovery.

What is a Hip Dislocation? A hip dislocation occurs when the femoral head of the thighbone is pushed forward or backward out of the hip bone socket. This may cause the labrum, ligaments, nerves, muscles, and other soft tissues holding the bones in place to become damaged or injured as a result.

Patients who experience a dislocated hip are often in severe pain and unable to move their leg. The position of the leg may also appear abnormal when compared to the opposite side of the body. Patients may also experience loss of feeling in the foot or ankle area if there is nerve damage. Additional symptoms include:

  • Limping

  • Abnormal warmth around the hip

  • Groin pain

  • Difficulty sleeping on the hip

Car accidents are the most common cause of hip dislocations because the knee typically hits the dashboard in a collision. This force drives the thigh backward, forcing the ball head of the femur out of the hip socket. A fall from a significant height, like a ladder, can also cause the hip to dislocate. Contact sports in which falls are common, such as football and hockey, can also cause the hip to dislocate.

Ultimately, imaging studies will be needed to confirm the dislocation and look for additional injuries that may have occurred. Your hip specialist will perform a thorough exam to rule out any further injuries.

Hip Dislocation Treatment Hip dislocations can be successfully treated without any significant long-term complications if diagnosed and managed early. Typically, a patient’s hip can be manipulated back into place while they are slightly sedated. This nonsurgical procedure is called a reduction. Your doctor will then request another set of x-rays or a CT scan to confirm that the bones are in the proper position after the procedure.

Further treatment may be necessary if you injure the labrum or tissues surrounding the hip as a result of a dislocation and your doctor may suggest a hip arthroscopy. This is a minimally-invasive treatment that utilises miniaturised instruments and a small camera to view the hip joint. Your doctor can then make any necessary repairs to the surrounding ligaments or soft tissue.

It often takes a few months for the hip to heal after a dislocation. If there are additional fractures, rehabilitation time may take longer. Your doctor might recommend limiting hip motion for several weeks to minimize the chance of your hip dislocating again. Physical therapy is often recommended during recovery in addition to walking aids like walkers, canes, and crutches.

Are you experiencing the symptoms of a dislocated hip? We offer top-level orthopaedic care for any hip concerns you may have, all in one location.

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