A dislocation is an injury to a joint in which the bones are forced out of their natural position by trauma. In a hip dislocation, the head of the thighbone (femur) is forced out of its socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis. Having a dislocated hip is often very painful, and requires medical attention right away.
For the femur to come out of its socket, a tremendous amount of force would have to occur. Hip dislocations are often caused by sports injuries or trauma. Contact sports like hockey or football, and sports that may involve falls are common causes of hip dislocation. Hip dislocations also commonly occur in a car accident, based on the seated position during impact. If a person has had hip replacement surgery, it is also possible for the artificial joint to become dislocated.
There are two types of hip dislocations, posterior and anterior. Posterior dislocations account for 90 percent of all dislocations, and occur when the thighbone (femur) is forced out of the socket towards the back. When the hip becomes dislocated, the hip becomes stuck in a bent position, and is twisted in towards the body.
Symptoms of a hip dislocation include intense pain and inability to move the affected leg, as well as a visible swelling and deformity of the hip joint. If nerve damage occurs from the injury, there may be numbness in the foot and ankle area.
A dislocated hip is considered a serious medical emergency, and should be treated by a doctor immediately. The treatment for a hip dislocation is called a reduction, where the thighbone is put back into place in the socket (acetabulum).
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to put the joint back into place. After the reduction, the hip must be immobilized, often for two to three months.
Pain medication or muscle relaxants may help relieve pain during recovery. Physical therapy will be necessary to restore the strength and range of motion in the hip joint. Talk to your doctor before purchasing anti-inflammatories, as these medications may interact with other medications and counteract other forms of treatment previously provided.
Physical therapy is often one of the most vital parts of the rehabilitation process, making sure that the joint is healthy and strong enough to withstand everything life has to offer. If you are experiencing hip pain from a dislocated hip, call Powell & Jones Orthopedics Center at (205) 877-9191 to request an appointment, or request one online.