Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Hip Dislocation

Hip dislocation is an injury in which the ball joint of your hip comes out of its socket. A dislocated hip is considered a medical emergency. Both short-term relief and long-term recovery depend on urgent care. A hip dislocation causes acute pain and disables your leg until it’s corrected. It can also cause secondary injuries to the surrounding blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, and tissues. This type of injury can cause long-term damage, especially if it’s not treated right away with quality care. At Advanced Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists in Denver, Parker, or Aurora, Colorado, you’ll find the best orthopedic hip specialists with the skill and experience to treat the complexities of any hip dislocation. The quality medical care you receive at Advanced Orthopedics will help you preserve as much of your hip functionality as possible for as long as possible.

The hip is normally one of the most secure joints in the body. Unless one has a prosthetic hip or hip dysplasia, it takes a lot of force to cause a hip dislocation, such as in a motor vehicle accident. Hip dysplasia is a developmental condition in which the hip joint doesn’t fit well into the socket. The incidence of hip dislocation has been reported to range from less than 1% to as high as 22%, depending on the patient population or if the dislocation happens to the native hip or a prosthetic hip.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. It is the junction where the hip joins the leg to the trunk of the body. It is comprised of two bones: the thighbone (femur) and the pelvis. The ball, at the top of the femur is called the femoral head. The socket, called the acetabulum, is a part of the pelvis. The ball rotates in the cup-shaped socket, allowing the leg to move forward, backward, and sideways. Surrounding muscles and ligaments and a thick band of cartilage called the labrum stabilize the joint.

There are different classifications of hip dislocations depending on location and severity.

Posterior Hip Dislocation:
Up to 90% of all hip dislocations are posterior. In this type of injury, the ball is pushed backward out of the socket.

Anterior Hip Dislocation:
Anterior dislocations are much less common, in this type of injury, the femoral head is pushed forward out of the socket. It is possible with an anterior hip dislocation to have a fracture of the femoral head. These are normally seen in side-impact collisions.

Hip Subluxation:
A hip subluxation is when the ball of the hip joint starts to come out of the socket but does not do so fully. A hip subluxation, also known as a partial hip dislocation, can turn into a fully dislocated hip joint if not allowed to heal correctly.

If not adequately treated, a hip dislocation can lead to complications, including sciatic nerve injury and damage and tears in the ligament or soft tissue that lead to impaired range of motion.

Avascular necrosis is the death of tissue in a section of the bone due to a lack of blood supply that is cut off by the dislocated joint.

Common Symptoms

  • Severe pain in the hip or groin area
  • Inability to move the leg
  • Visible deformity or misalignment of the hip
  • Swelling and bruising around the hip
  • Numbness or tingling in the leg

Cause & Anatomy

  • Traumatic events: Car accidents, falls, sports injuries
  • Congenital conditions: Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) in infants
  • Previous hip surgery: Can increase susceptibility


  • Femur: The thigh bone, which has a rounded head that fits into the hip socket.
  • Acetabulum: The cup-shaped socket in the pelvis that holds the head of the femur.
  • Ligaments and Muscles: Stabilize the hip joint and facilitate movement.


  • Physical examination: Checking for pain, range of motion, and deformity.
  • Imaging tests: X-rays to confirm dislocation and assess damage to the joint; MRI or CT scans for detailed images of soft tissues and bone.


  • Safety measures: Wearing seat belts, using protective gear in sports, and fall prevention strategies.
  • Hip-strengthening exercises: To maintain muscle strength and joint stability.
  • Addressing congenital issues early: Early treatment of developmental dysplasia in infants.


  • Closed reduction: A non-surgical procedure where the doctor manipulates the hip back into place.
  • Immobilization: Using a brace or cast to keep the hip stable after reduction.
  • Pain management: Medications to manage pain and inflammation.


  • Open reduction: Surgical procedure to realign the hip if closed reduction fails or if there are additional complications like fractures.
  • Hip replacement: In cases of severe damage to the joint, especially in older adults.


  • Physical therapy: To restore range of motion, strength, and function.
  • Gradual return to activity: Avoiding high-impact activities until fully healed.
  • Regular follow-ups: To monitor healing and prevent recurrence.


What is the recovery time for a hip dislocation?
Recovery can take several weeks to months, depending on the severity of the dislocation and the presence of any additional injuries or complications.

Can hip dislocation recur?
Yes, once a hip has been dislocated, it may be more prone to future dislocations, especially if the underlying cause is not addressed.

Is surgery always required for hip dislocation?
No, many hip dislocations can be treated with closed reduction and non-surgical methods. Surgery is typically reserved for cases with complications or when closed reduction fails.

What activities should be avoided after a hip dislocation?
High-impact activities, heavy lifting, and any movements that place stress on the hip joint should be avoided until fully healed and cleared by a doctor.

Are there long-term effects of a hip dislocation?
Some individuals may experience long-term issues such as chronic pain, reduced range of motion, or osteoarthritis in the affected hip.

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