Hip dislocation is the movement of the femur (thighbone) out of the socket of the hip. A hip dislocation is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention from a doctor. The dislocation of the hip is caused by a forceful blow to the lower body, often from a car accident or a serious fall.
When the ball at the top of the femur (thighbone) is forced out of the hip socket, it can be forced forward, causing an anterior dislocation or backwards causing a posterior dislocation, which is far more common.
Realigning the hip is referred to as a reduction. Following a hip dislocation, reduction is needed within 8 hours of the initial injury to prevent permanent damage. While most hip reduction is performed at an emergency facility, our team at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is here to help with recovery, physical therapy and any additional injury caused by a hip dislocation.
A majority of patients experience a vast improvement in mobility and pain relief following a hip reduction.
What is a Hip Dislocation?
Hip dislocation is caused by a forceful blow to the hip causing the ball at the top of the femur (thighbone) to be pushed out of the hip socket. Hip reduction should only be attempted by a doctor as it requires force and accuracy to realign the hip without further damage.
Hip dislocation is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention by a doctor or physical therapist. Once the hip has been reduced, your hip will be examined with an X-ray to check for any additional damage or fractures that occurred during the dislocation. Based on the result of the X-ray, your doctor and physical therapist can then determine the best treatment plan to aid in your recovery.
Severe hip pain, immobility and a noticeable rotation of the injured leg are the key symptoms for a hip dislocation. In some cases, you may experience numbness in the leg and hip due to nerve compression. If a hip dislocation occurs, call for emergency assistance and keep the injured leg warm until help arrives.
Hip Dislocation Recovery
The recovery process from a hip dislocation can be extremely long as the hip joint is crucial for mobility. If additional fractures or injuries were sustained during the hip dislocation, surgery may be required. In most cases, your orthopaedic surgeon will recommend limiting hip mobility for one to two weeks after hip reduction. Once your hip can begin bearing weight, crutches or a walker will be necessary. You will begin slowing adding weight to the injured hip to strengthen the joint.
Physical therapy will be essential during the recovery process. Your physical therapist will propose a treatment plan to slowly reintroduce flexibility, joint strength and mobility back into the injured hip. WIth the help of physical therapy, you can expect a full recovery two to four months after a hip dislocation.