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Dislocated Hip: Symptoms, Treatment and Recovery Guide

All About Dislocated Hips: Key Symptoms, Effective Treatment, and Recovery Insights

A dislocated hip occurs when the ball of the thigh bone slips out of the hip socket. Symptoms include severe pain, limited mobility, and deformity. 

Immediate medical attention is critical to prevent further damage. Treatment typically involves the skilled manipulation of the hip joint to place the ball back into the socket, known as reduction, which may require anesthesia. In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair damaged tissues or prevent future dislocations. Following treatment, recovery encompasses physical therapy to regain strength and mobility, and it can be a lengthy process, often taking several months. Early intervention and a comprehensive recovery plan are crucial for the best outcome. Read on to know more to tackle the condition with Physiotattva.

Dislocated hips can cause extreme pain, immobility, and joint misalignment. Depending on the type and intensity of the injury, there are several effective ways of treating the condition. Physiotherapy is an effective treatment method, that offers comprehensive care and long term care.

Hip Dislocation Classification

Hip dislocations are classified as either anterior or posterior based on the direction of displacement. Anterior dislocations are more common and result from flexion, abduction, and external rotation. Posterior dislocations occur in the opposite direction.

Posterior hip dislocation

A posterior hip dislocation occurs when the thigh bone's ball is forced backward out of the hip socket. It's typically due to forceful flexion and internal rotation.

Anterior hip dislocation

Anterior hip dislocation happens when the thigh bone's ball is forced out of the front of the hip socket, often due to hyperextension, abduction, and external rotation.

Congenital hip dislocation

Congenital hip dislocation, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), is a condition in which a baby is born with an improperly formed hip joint, which can lead to dislocation. 

Superior Hip Dislocation (Central Hip Dislocation)

Superior hip dislocation, also known as central hip dislocation, is a rare condition where the hip joint's ball moves upward within the socket, often resulting from severe trauma. 

Inferior Hip Dislocation (Obturator Hip Dislocation)

A dislocation is classified as inferior hip dislocation when the hip joint's ball is pushed downward and out of the socket. It is usually a result of a traumatic event.

Lateral Hip Dislocation

Lateral hip dislocation is an injury in which the hip joint's ball dislocates to the side, usually caused by force applied from the side. 

Causes of Hip Dislocation

Hip dislocation, or the displacement of the hip joint, can result from various factors.

1. Trauma, such as high-impact accidents and direct blows to the hip, can forcefully dislocate the joint.

2. In some rare cases, surgical procedures may inadvertently lead to hip dislocation.

3. Congenital factors, like developmental abnormalities, can predispose individuals to this condition.

4. Additionally, sudden muscle contractions during seizures or spasms, degenerative conditions such as arthritis, and rare childbirth complications may also cause hip dislocation.

It is essential to promptly address these situations with medical attention and appropriate treatment to prevent long-term complications.

Dislocated Hip Symptoms

Dislocated hip symptoms include severe pain, limited mobility, visible deformity, and muscle spasms around the hip joint. Immediate medical attention is necessary for diagnosis and treatment.

Severe Hip Pain

Severe hip pain is one of the most common symptom of hip dislocation, arising from the disruption of the joint's alignment, resulting in intense discomfort and restricted movement.

Inability to Move the Hip

Inability to move the hip is also a symptom of hip dislocation due to joint misalignment, causing restricted mobility and severe pain.

Visible Deformity

In some cases, visible deformity of the hips can be a visual marker of a hip dislocation symptom. Out of place joints, trauma injury or congenital factors may be a cause.

Leg Appears Shorter

An altered positioning of the hip joint can result in one of the legs being shorter than the other. This is a symptom of hip displacement that needs attention.

Bruising and Swelling

Bruising and swelling often accompany hip displacement due to soft tissue damage and inflammation. These symptoms are indicators of the traumatic nature of the injury and potential complications.

Numbness or Tingling

Numbness or tingling in the hip region can be indicative of nerve injury or poor circulation to the lower body and hips. This can be a symptom of hip displacement.

Difficulty Bearing Weight

A common symptom of hip displacement can be difficulty in bearing weight, moving around with ease and performing activities that result in strain to the lower back and hip. Consistent pain, along with numbness can be an indicator of hip displacement.

Hip Stiffness

Stiffness in the hip often resulting in pain, reduced mobility is a sign of injury to the bones or muscles, resulting in hip displacement.

Methods and Procedures used to Diagnose Dislocated Hip

Diagnosing a dislocated hip typically involves clinical evaluation, X-rays, and sometimes CT or MRI scans to assess joint alignment and soft tissue damage. A physical examination can also be performed to ascertain the condition.

Clinical Assessment 

A clinical assessment involves a healthcare professional physically examining the hip joint, assessing mobility, pain, and alignment to detect signs of displacement.


Imaging techniques like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans capture detailed images of the hip joint, revealing bone position, soft tissue damage, and joint misalignment.

Specialist Evaluation

A specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon, may perform a comprehensive assessment, utilizing clinical findings and imaging results to confirm and address hip displacement, ensuring appropriate treatment.

Hip Dislocation Treatment

Treatment for hip dislocation usually involves reduction, where a medical professional realigns the joint, followed by rest, pain management, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery. Rest and physical therapy are vital to the healing process to ensure a long term goal.

Immediate Care: Reduction (repositioning the hip joint)

Immediate care for hip displacement is very important and it usually involves a medical professional performing reduction, which is the process of gently repositioning the dislocated hip joint to its anatomically correct alignment. This procedure not only alleviates severe pain but also restores proper joint function. It is crucial to ensure that the reduction is performed promptly to minimize complications and facilitate a successful recovery. This often occurs in a hospital or medical setting where medical expertise is available to safely manipulate the hip joint.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment for hip displacement focuses on conservative management after the joint has been successfully reduced. It includes immobilizing the affected hip with the use of a brace or sling to prevent further movement and promote healing. Pain management measures such as medications are prescribed as needed. Patients may also be advised to avoid bearing weight on the injured hip, and crutches may be used to facilitate mobility. Close monitoring of the hip's progress is essential during this non-surgical phase of treatment.

Surgical Interventions (if required)

In cases where hip displacement results in significant damage, recurrent dislocations, or associated complications, surgical interventions may be necessary. Surgical options may include repairing damaged ligaments, tendons, or bone structures, as well as stabilizing the hip joint. The specific procedure and approach depend on the extent of the injury. Surgical interventions aim to restore the hip's stability, reduce the risk of future dislocations, and improve long-term joint function, often carried out by an orthopedic surgeon with expertise in such procedures.

Post-Treatment Care: Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

Post-treatment care for hip displacement involves a comprehensive rehabilitation and physical therapy program. This stage focuses on restoring strength, mobility, and function to the hip joint. Customized exercise regimens are designed to address individual needs, gradually helping patients regain a full range of motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in preventing recurrent dislocations and facilitating a complete recovery, overseen by physical therapists and orthopedic specialists.

Recovery from Hip Dislocation

Recovery from hip dislocation involves immediate care with reduction, followed by non-surgical or surgical treatments, as needed. Post-treatment care such as rehabilitation and physical therapy are important to restore mobility and strength, ensuring a successful and long-term recovery.

Tips on Preventing Hip Dislocation

Preventing hip dislocation involves safety in sports, such as wearing appropriate protective gear, practicing good technique, and knowing one's physical limits. General safety measures include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive strain on the hips, and addressing underlying medical conditions. To maintain hip health, regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate hydration are crucial, along with avoiding sudden, forceful movements that can stress the hip joint.

When to Consult a Medical Professional for Dislocated Hip?

In cases of blunt force trauma to the hip, possible physical injuries, persistent pain in the hips, inablity to perform day to day activities are good signs for one to consult a medical professional for dislocated hip. This ensures that all possible causes are considered and right and timely care is provided.

Get Expert Hip Dislocation Treatment at Physiotattva

Our skilled team of professionals at Physiotattva is dedicated to providing you with the highest level of care in case of a hip displacement. We offer a comprehensive approach, including reduction, non-surgical and surgical interventions as needed. Post-treatment, our specialized rehabilitation and physical therapy programs will aid in a successful recovery, restoring mobility and strength. Your well-being is our priority at Physiotattva. Book a consultation today!


What is Hip Dislocation?

Hip dislocation is a traumatic injury where the ball of the thigh bone (femur) is displaced from its socket in the hip bone.

What are the types of Hip Dislocation?

Hip dislocations can be classified into anterior (most common) and posterior dislocations based on the direction of the femoral head displacement in relation to the hip socket (acetabulum).

What is the main cause of hip dislocation?

The primary cause of hip dislocation is a traumatic event, such as a fall, sports injury, or vehicular accident, which forcefully displaces the femoral head from the hip socket.

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