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Hip Dislocation

Hip dislocation

The hip is a ball and socket joint, composed by the head of the femur/thighbone (ball) and the acetabulum in the pelvis (socket). Injuries to the hip can cause the ball to be removed from the socket.

What is hip dislocation?

A hip dislocation is when the ball of the hip joint moves from its natural position in the socket, usually because of trauma. Often other injuries occur alongside a hip dislocation, including fractures to the pelvis, legs, and back or injuries to the knee, head or abdominal area.

In people who have had hip replacement surgery, it’s possible that a fall or accident can cause the prosthetic to dislocate.

What are the symptoms of hip dislocation?

If you have a hip dislocation, you will experience a high level of pain and will not be able to move your leg.

You may also experience:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness in the foot or ankle – if nerves have been damaged
  • Abnormal positioning of the leg – turned inwards or outwards, depending on the type of dislocation
  • One leg shorter than the other

What causes hip dislocation?

Hip dislocation is caused by trauma to the hip joint (e.g. a car accident, a fall from a high height or sports injuries).

In people who have had hip replacement surgery, it’s possible that a less serious fall can cause the prosthetic to dislocate.

How is hip dislocation diagnosed?

If you have any of the symptoms listed above and believe you have a dislocated hip, it is essential that you go to a consultant immediately.

Your consultant will perform a physical examination and send you for X-rays to determine whether you have hip dislocation.

How is hip dislocation treated?

Your consultant will attempt to put the ball back into the socket. This is a procedure known as a reduction, and will be done under sedation or anaesthetics.

If your consultant is unable to get the ball into the socket, you may undergo a CT scan to see whether there are bone fragments/other foreign objects that are inhibiting it from being put back in place.

You will likely need to undergo physiotherapy afterwards in order to regain strength in the affected hip.

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, or the above treatments don’t work for you, our team of expert specialists are here to help.

This content has been checked and approved by

Mr Robert Marston  ›

Mr Marston has a full-time private practice at King Edward VII’s Hospital, specialising in hip and knee replacement and hip and knee trauma.

Find your specialist in hip dislocation at King Edward VII's Hospital

If you suspect you have hip dislocation and you’re seeking an expert opinion, you can find the UK’s leading orthopaedic specialists here at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Our consultants are hand-picked for you, making it easy to access the best possible care.

Mr Sean Curry  ›
Special interests include:
Hip surgery (+ 3) more
Mr Alex Liddle  ›
Special interests include:
Hip replacement (+ 5) more
Mr Robert Marston  ›
Special interests include:
Lower limb trauma (+ 8) more
Mr Simon Newman  ›
Special interests include:
Hip surgery (+ 6) more
Mr Mark Webb  ›
Special interests include:
Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (+ 10) more

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