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  • Hip Dislocation

    (Dislocated Hip; Dislocation, Hip)


    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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    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 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


    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


    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

    In some cases, surgery is needed. Open reduction is often done if the thigh or pelvic bones are also broken.


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


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

    American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org


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

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


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

    Hip dislocation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. 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.

    Revision Information

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