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Hip Dislocation


What is a hip dislocation?

A hip dislocation occurs when your thigh bone is forced out of your hip socket.

Hip and Pelvis

What causes a hip dislocation?

The most common cause is when your knees hit the dashboard in a car accident. A fall from a high height could dislocate your hip, such as from a ladder. It could also happen during a sports injury or if you are hit by a car.

What are the signs and symptoms of a hip dislocation?

  • You are in severe pain.
  • You cannot move your leg.
  • Your hip or knee is twisted in or out.
  • Your foot, ankle, or leg is numb.

How is a hip dislocation diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you. You may need the following tests:

  • X-rays are pictures of your hip bones and hip joint. Healthcare providers will take x-rays to see if your hip is dislocated and if you have other injuries.
  • A CT scan is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your hip. The pictures may show dislocation, fractures, or other injuries. You may be given dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

How is a hip dislocation treated?

  • Pain medicine helps decrease or take away your pain.
  • Moderate sedation is when medicine is used to make you relaxed and sleepy, but you remain awake. It is also called conscious sedation. It is used before reduction.
  • Closed reduction is a procedure to move your thigh bone back into the socket of your hip joint. Healthcare providers will rotate your leg and move your hip in different positions while you are sedated. They may push or pull on your hip joint. If they cannot move your bone back into place, you will need surgery.
  • Open reduction is surgery to move your hip bones back into place. Anesthesia will be given to keep you asleep. Your healthcare provider will make an incision so he can see and repair your injured hip joint. After reduction you will have another x-ray or CT scan.

What are the risks of a hip dislocation?

You might develop arthritis in your hip. The sciatic nerve in the back of your leg may be damaged during the injury. This could lead to numbness in your leg and foot. There could be small loose pieces of bone and cartilage in your hip joint. This may require another procedure to remove the pieces. The blood supply to your hip bone could be cut off and the bone could begin to die. Your hip could dislocate again.

How can I prevent my hip from dislocating again?

Follow these precautions for 6 weeks after your injury or as directed:

  • Sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs. Do not lean forward when you sit in a chair.
  • Keep your knees apart. Place a pillow or wedge between your knees when you sit or lie down. Do not twist your knees. Do not lift your knees higher than your hips.
  • Do not sit in a low chair. Use armrests and your upper body strength to push yourself up from a sitting position.
  • Do not bend at the waist to pick up an object from the floor. Bend your knees to reach the object, or use a tool to pick it up.

How can I manage my symptoms?

It will take 2 to 3 months for your hip to heal.

  • Use a walker or crutches as directed. Ask your healthcare provider or orthopedist when you can put weight on your injured side. As your hip heals, use a cane to help you walk until your limp goes away.
  • Go to physical therapy as directed by your healthcare provider. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to increase the range of motion in your hip. Exercises also make your hip stronger and decrease pain.
  • Avoid high-impact activities and sports for 6 to 12 weeks or until your hip strength has returned.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have numbness in your leg or foot.
  • You have pain that does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • You cannot walk well with your cane or crutches.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe pain.
  • You dislocate your hip again.
  • Your incision comes apart, or blood soaks through your bandage.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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