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Hip Dislocation

A hip dislocation is a very serious injury and should be treated as an emergency, especially in children and teens because their bones are still growing. The pediatric orthopedic team at Cook Children's is uniquely trained in the diagnosis and treatment of bone, joint and musculoskeletal injuries.

A hip dislocation is a medical emergency. Call for help immediately. Do not try to move the injured child. If possible, keep them warm with blankets.

What is a hip dislocation?

A hip dislocation is when the ball of the thigh bone moves out of place within the socket of the pelvic bone. This ball and socket form the hip joint.

Hip Socket
Illustration of hip socket.

What causes hip dislocation?

Hip dislocations are relatively rare and severe injuries. They are often associated with femur or pelvic fractures. A normal hip joint is stable and strong. A hip dislocation can only occur when a strong force is applied to the hip joint. This may occur due to:

  • Severe falls, especially from heights
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Sports injuries, especially from football, rugby, skiing, and snowboarding
  • Hip joint abnormalities
  • Poor muscle control, muscle weakness, or other conditions that put the child a risk of rfallas.

What are the symptoms of hip dislocation?

Symptoms of a dislocated hip include:

  • Severe pain in the hip, especially when attempting to move the leg
  • Pain that spreads to the legs, knees, and back
  • Leg on the affected side appears shorter than the other leg
  • Hip joint appears deformed
  • Pain or numbness along the back of thighs if injury presses on the sciatic nerve
  • Being unable to walk

How is a hip dislocation diagnosed?

You and your child will be asked about what symptoms are being experienced and how the injury occurred. An exam of your child’s hip and leg will be done.

Images may be taken of your child’s bones. This can be done with:

How is a hip dislocation treated?

Depending on the injury, treatment may include:

Reduction Procedures

If there are no other injuries, the doctor will administer an anesthetic or a sedative and manipulate the bones back into their proper position. This is called a closed reduction.

In some cases, surgery is needed. This is called an open reduction and is often done if:

  • Closed reduction is unsuccessful
  • Bony fragments or soft tissue remain in the joint space
  • The joint remains unstable
  • The thigh or pelvic bones are also broken

Physical therapy

A physical therapist will assess the injury. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.

We're here to help.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4405.

Consultations and referrals

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