What Are The Symptoms Of A Dislocated Hip

Hip dislocation occurs when the head of a thighbone is forced out of the hip bone socket. The hip joint is a ball-socket joint. The femoral head – ball at the top of the thighbone, rotates in the socket. The socket is called the acetabulum, a pelvis part, and allows the ball to turn to move the leg forward or backward and sideways.

A dislocated hip is a medical emergency causing severe hip pain, and the patient cannot move their leg. The dislocation is divided into two major types:

Posterior Dislocation – This is the most common type of hip dislocation, where the femoral head of the thighbone is forced out of acetabulum towards the rear side.

Anterior Dislocation – In this type, the thigh bone slips out of the socket in a forward direction. Typically less common, causing the leg to move away from the middle part of the body.

 Causes of hip dislocation

Most common causes of dislocation are:

  • Road accidents, typically motor vehicle accidents
  • Falling from a height
  • Industrial accidents
  • Sports injurie

Assessment and treatment of dislocation

An orthopaedic doctor can diagnose a dislocated hip by physically examining the leg position and the hip movement. An X-ray or MRI may be required to determine the exact position and rule out other dislocation-related injuries in severe cases.

When a hip location is diagnosed early, it can be treated without any long-term complications. In case of less severe injuries, a hip surgeon at Adelaide gives the patient an anaesthetic to manipulate the bones back into their proper position. This is also known as a reduction procedure.

In case of damages to the surrounding tissues, additional treatment may be required, known as hip arthroscopy. With the help of a miniature camera, the doctor examines the hip joint to make repairs to the soft tissues and ligaments.

At times when the ball breaks the hip socket, the dislocated hip causes the femur or pelvis to crack, and the patient will require orthopaedic surgeon services. The surgeon will perform surgery to repair the broken bones or replace the natural hip with an artificial socket, depending on the patient's condition.


Recovery from the dislocation may take around 2 to 3 months, or may even longer if a patient has other injuries, such as fractures, etc. The patient has to limit their hip motion for several weeks to protect the hip from dislocating again. After the treatment, they are advised to use walking aids such as crutches, walkers or sticks to assist with walking to help reduce the load on the treated area.

Some patients may require special physiotherapy sessions to recover after the treatment. The doctors advise specific exercises to ensure proper movements of the hip joint.

How to prevent hips dislocation

As per hip surgeon at Adelaide, most dislocations occur due to accidents. Practising safety measures, such as using seat belts while driving, or using proper safety equipment in industrial activities, wearing safety gears during various sports activities, will help to reduce the risks of severe accidents. Staying physically active with regular exercise and keeping your weight under control is the key to stay away from injuries.


A dislocated hip can produce long term consequences, primarily if they are associated with fractures.

  • Nerve Injury: When the thighbone is pushed out of the socket, it results in sciatic nerve injury. The nerves running around the hip are affected, causing weakness and numbness in the lower leg, causing restricted movements for knees, ankles and feet. 
  • Osteonecrosis: When the thighbone is pushed out of the socket, it causes several blood vessels to tear, causing a restricted blood supply to the bone. This effect may cause a bone to die, resulting in Avascular necrosis. When the small arteries holding the hip joint are damaged, it causes the joint to lose its range of motion and may require a hip replacement in the future.
  • Recurrent hip dislocation: Sometimes, the structures keeping the hip stable may not heal adequately. This problem will raise the repeated dislocations causing further issues for the patients.
  • Arthritis: The protective coverings of a hip joint in the form of various cartilages keep the hip stable. When damaged, they increase the risk of developing arthritis. Complications of arthritis may lead to the need for a total hip replacement procedure. 


The goal of hip dislocation treatment is to restore the joints' function and minimize further serious complications. It is essential to seek a doctor's advice when one visualizes the symptoms of a dislocated hip.


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