The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The “ball” is the head of the femur, or thigh bone, and the “socket” is the cup shaped acetabulum. The joint is surrounded by muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and hold the bones of the joint in place. Hip dislocation occurs when the head of the femur moves out of the socket. The femoral head can dislocate either backward (posterior dislocation) or forward (anterior dislocation).
Hip dislocation can be caused by injuries from motor vehicle accidents or severe falls. The common symptoms of hip dislocation include pain, inability to move your legs and numbness along the foot or ankle. A dislocation may also be associated with a fracture in the hip, back or knee bones. These are high energy injuries. Most hip dislocations initially present to the ER, where a thorough physical examination and imaging studies such as X-rays to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment involves reduction, in which your doctor repositions the bones to their normal position under anesthesia. Surgery may be performed to remove fragments of bone or torn tissues that block and prevent reduction. If the ball or socket is fractured along with the dislocation, surgery may be required to repair the bones. During your recovery, you are advised to limit movement and placing weight on the injured hip with the use of crutches. Physical therapy is vital in regaining the strength and mobility in your hip joint after treatment.