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Dislocated Hip


Hip dislocation occurs when a hip’s ball joint (femur) pops out of its socket (acetabulum).  A dislocated hip causes excruciating pain and incapacitation. Immediate care lowers the likelihood of long-term complications.

If your child needs surgery or casting, our Fracture Care Clinic opens every day and you do not need an appointment. Surgery rooms get scheduled every morning, so your child receives the care and attention they need right away.

Hip Dislocation Defined

Dislocated HipWhen the ball joint in a hip falls out of its socket, it causes hip dislocation, a painful ailment. It typically results from a serious traumatic injury. A hip dislocation is a medical emergency. It causes severe pain and disables a leg until it is repaired. It can also injure the surrounding blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, and tissues. Hip dislocation can have long-term consequences if not treated promptly. Hip dislocation can happen as a result of hip dysplasia, which is a developmental condition in which a hip joint does not fit well in the socket. Developmental hip dislocation is another name for hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia patients have shallow hip sockets that do not hold their joints as well as normal hips. They may also have loose muscles and ligaments in their hip, which allows them to displace their joint with less force than most of us.

Hip Subluxation (Partial Dislocation)?

Subluxation is the medical term for partial dislocation. It means that a ball joint has shifted partially, but not completely out of its socket. Subluxations can range from mild to severe. It is common in people who have hip dysplasia or have had a hip replacement. Injury is the most common cause of severe subluxation. More severe cases may be nearly as painful and debilitating as a total dislocation, and may also require a professional reset.

If your child is in severe pain or unable to walk, pay attention to your child’s body and seek professional help. Hip wear and tear, in general, might result in a milder instance where the cartilage that helps seal a joint in its socket has deteriorated. It could happen all the time or only recurrently. A child might walk with a mild subluxation, and  may pop it back into place with gentle stretching.

Does Hip Dislocation Cause Hip Pain?

The hip is one of the most secure joints in the body. It takes a lot to dislocate a hip joint unless someone has a prosthetic hip or hip dysplasia. A dislocated hip is excruciatingly painful and incapacitating, and it usually occurs after a significant injury. However, if your child has a minor injury or his or her hip has been subjected to a lot of wear and tear, your child could have a subluxation. If your child’s hip snaps in the socket when moved, or if it’s difficult to bear weight on the leg, take note. Our orthopedic doctors  that specialize in children can assist parents in determining the source of their child’s hip pain and recommend the appropriate treatment.

What Causes Hip Dislocation?

A traumatic injury is usually the cause of hip dislocation. Pushing a hip joint out of its socket normally requires a lot of force. A vehicle accident is the most typical cause. A severe fall, an injury sustained while playing sports, or an accident at work might potentially cause the dislocation. If your child has developmental hip dislocation (hip dysplasia), dislocating a joint may require much less force. People who have had a hip replacement are also more likely to dislocate during everyday activities.

What Does a Dislocated Hip Look Like?

Looking at the injury from the outside, you’ll notice that the leg is locked in place, rotated either inward or outward. Approximately 90% of the time, a hip joint is pushed backward out of its socket (posterior dislocation), causing the knee and foot to point inward. A knee and foot will point outward if the hip is pushed forward out of its socket (anterior dislocation). In addition, a rotated leg may appear shorter or longer than the other. You might notice that your child’s hip isn’t aligned, or you might notice swelling or discoloration at the hip.

What Indications and Symptoms Point to a Hip Dislocation?

  • Severe pain.
  • Muscular spasms
  • Hip joint swelling or discoloration.
  • Rotation of either the inside or outside leg
  • Impossibility of moving a leg.
  • Impossibility of bearing weight on a leg.
  • Loss of sensation in a hip or foot
  • The hip is clearly out of place.

Hip Dislocation Risks

A displaced hip joint might require separate treatment if it damages adjacent nerves, blood vessels, or tissues. This damage can sometimes have long-term consequences, such as the following:

  • Nerve injury to the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower back through the hip and down the leg. Compression of the nerve results in chronic pain, often known as sciatica. A sciatic nerve injury can impair the ability to flex a foot and toes.
  • Damage to the femoral artery, which runs in front of the joint, can impair blood flow to the bone. When a blood supply is interrupted, the bone tissue begins to die and tiny fractures form, destroying the structural integrity of the bone. Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis are the terms used to describe this.
  • Damage to the cartilage that cushions the ball joint in its socket and the ring of cartilage that surrounds the joint, is known as the labrum. This frequently results in arthritis and raises the likelihood of requiring a hip replacement later in life.

What Causes a Dislocated Hip?

Our pediatric orthopedic doctors typically just needs to glance at a dislocated hip to make the diagnosis. They will, however, want to perform a full physical examination to rule out any other injuries. Before attempting to correct any fractures, they may order imaging tests such as X-rays or a CT scan to better see the position of the bones and screen for any fractures.

Dislocated Hip Treatment

Urgent care

Don’t try to move the hip if you think your child has suffered a dislocation. Take your child immediately to an Emergency Clinic.  The injury is excruciatingly painful and should get treated quickly to avoid long-term harm. It’s only safe to conduct hip correction once other linked injuries have been detected, which involves training, medicine, and help. Upon examination, doctors may find that surgical intervention is needed to repair secondary damage. Correction is most effective when done a few hours after the incident.

Hip reduction

The emergency room doctors or our doctors will physically relocate the joint back into position to treat the dislocated hip. It is referred to as a decrease. External (“closed reduction”) repair is possible when there are no subsequent injuries. A hip joint must be forced both out of alignment and back into alignment. To lessen discomfort and muscle spasms during the treatment, our doctors will likely suggest a mix of anesthetic and sedative medications. Sometimes the procedure is carried out while your child is sleeping.


It is really important for parents to bring their children to us after the emergency room.  If there are major secondary injuries, surgical procedures can fix blood vessels and nerves in the operating room. The preferred course of therapy for newborns who have experienced hip dislocation, particularly as a result of hip dysplasia, is surgery. Our surgeons can also stabilize the joint during surgery to avoid dislocation in the future. With newborns, this works 90% of the time.

How can I Avoid my Child from Dislocating a Hip?


Since hip dislocation typically comes from an accident, following general safety recommendations is the best way to prevent it. When driving you should always buckle your seat and your child’s.  When your child is playing contact sports, you should always ensure that he or she is using the proper equipment and shoes.


Hip dislocations are likely to occur again if your child has already had one. You can preserve and grow your child’s hip joint simply by strengthening the tendons and muscles around it through regular exercise and physical therapy.

Hip dysplasia care

To avoid further harm, hip dysplasia in children should be treated while their bones are still developing.

How Long Does a Hip Dislocation Take to Heal

Even once a joint has been surgically made better, it may still take a hip two to three months to fully recover. Our doctor might advise minimizing hip motion for the first several weeks and then introduce physical therapy. Additionally, your child might require crutches for the first week or two to walk.

Dislocated Hip Recovery

Treatment that is time-sensitive can lead to a full recovery. After a high-force trauma causes a hip to dislocate, further injuries are common. If nerves and blood vessels become harmed and not treated within hours, there is a greater chance of long-term consequences. All hip dislocations damage the ligaments and muscles that keep a hip joint stable as well as the cartilage that protects the joint from slipping out of its socket. The more a joint becomes unstable, the longer the damage will remain untreated. Future dislocation injuries may result from this, potentially. It will also, in roughly 50% of instances, result in the gradual onset of arthritis in a joint. Although, replacement hips resulting from arthritis are getting better and better, it is really important that children be treated immediately when there is any hip problems.

Particulars Regarding Dislocated Hip

With a dislocated hip, take it seriously. Given the nature of the situation, immediate medical attention is necessary for both immediate alleviation and long-term rehabilitation. Even if your child does not have any further injuries, parents still need to get the dislocated hip fixed as soon as possible to get rid of the discomfort and get the hip back to normal. Your child will benefit from receiving high-quality medical treatment from us for decades into the future. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a routine examination if you believe a problem may exist.

Call 214-556-0590 to make an appointment.

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