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Recovering from Hip Dislocation

A hip dislocation is a serious and painful injury. It is usually the result of some very strong trauma, as in the case of an automobile accident or a fall. When the smooth end of the femur, or thigh bone, is pushed out of the socket formed by the pelvis, the hip joint is said to be dislocated. Emergency treatment is necessary for this injury, and a healthy recovery is vital towards returning mobility and preventing chronic pain. 

It is possible for your doctor to realign the hip joint by hand, but because of the amount of force necessary to drive the joint out of place, there is usually at least one other injury involved. 90% of hip dislocations are posterior, where the femur is pushed behind the socket of the pelvis and 10% are anterior, where the femur is pushed forward from the pelvis. 

Often, a hip dislocation is accompanied by a fracture, either to the extremities or to part of the pelvis from the force that dislodges the femur. In this case, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the hip and repair the fractured bone at the same time. That kind of fracture sometimes occurs when the knees impact an automobile’s dashboard when there is an accident. Safety belts and airbags are meant to help protect car riders from this type of injury.

The smooth covering of cartilage on the femur is also likely to suffer some damage from a hip dislocation. Nerves and ligaments that attach the parts of the hip and make it possible for movement are damaged and torn when the hip is dislocated, too. Regaining full ability to move without pain takes time. Recovering from a hip dislocation involves rest, medication to control swelling and pain, and will often benefit from physical therapy. You may use crutches or a cane to help balance during your recovery, and there may be some permanent nerve damage or arthritis that develops as a result of the injury. 

Hip dislocation requires emergency care from an orthopedic expert. The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs cares for anybody in need of orthopedic care, from the victim of an auto accident to the world’s elite athletes. If you have an urgent orthopedic injury, call (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.

Hip Dislocation

The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the human body. It allows us to walk, run, and jump. It bears our body’s weight and the force of the strong muscles of the hip and leg. Our hips are also one of our most flexible joints, which allows a greater range of motion than all other joints in the body, except for the shoulder.

The hip is considered one of the more complex regions of our body due to its multiaxial arrangement, meaning it can move in many different directions. When they are healthy, it takes great force to hurt them. However, playing sports, running, overuse or falling can all sometimes lead to hip injuries. These include strains, bursitis, dislocations, and fractures. Certain diseases also lead to hip injuries or problems. Osteoarthritis can cause pain and limited motion. Osteoporosis of the hip causes weak bones that break easily, both of which are more common in older people.

Hip Dislocation:

Your hip is the joint where your thigh bone meets your pelvis bone. Hips are called ball-and-socket joints because the ball-like top of your femur moves within a cup-like space in your pelvis. The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur (thighbone). A smooth tissue called articular cartilage covers the surface of the ball and the socket. It creates a low friction surface that helps the bones glide easily across each other. The acetabulum is surrounded by strong fibrocartilage called labrum. The labrum forms a lining around the socket, creating a tight seal, helping to provide stability to the hip joint.

A traumatic hip dislocation occurs when the head of the thighbone (femur) is forced out of its socket in the hip bone (pelvis). When there is a hip dislocation, the femoral head is pushed either backward out of the socket, or forward. It typically takes a major force to dislocate the hip. Car collisions and falls from significant heights are common causes and, as a result, other injuries like broken bones often occur with the dislocation. In rare cases, a hip dislocation can occur during impact sports like football. A hip dislocation is a very painful and serious medical emergency, where immediate treatment is necessary.

Treatment and Recovery:

In cases in which hip dislocation is the only injury, an orthopedic surgeon can often diagnose it simply by looking at the position of the leg. Because hip dislocations often occur with additional injuries, your doctor will complete a thorough physical evaluation. If there are no other injuries associated with the dislocated hip, the doctor will administer an anesthetic or a sedative and manipulate the bones back into their proper position. This is called a reduction.

Recovery depends on the person and severity of the dislocation and injuries associated. It takes time, sometimes 2 to 3 months for the hip to heal after a dislocation. The rehabilitation time may be longer if there are additional fractures. Patients often begin walking with crutches within a short time. Walking aids, such as walkers, crutches and, eventually, canes, help patients get mobilized. Physical therapy will often be required to speed up the recovery process.

If you have suffered an injury to your hip or think you may have dislocated it, request an appointment with the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 for immediate treatment.