Hip Dislocation

What is hip dislocation, and how is it treated?

Dislocation of the hip occurs when the femoral head, at the end of the thigh bone, comes out of the hip socket.

Traumatic hip dislocations are the most common type. However, babies can dislocate their hips when the ball and socket joint do not form properly. 

This is called developmental dysplasia (dislocation) of the hip.

The femoral head can be pushed backward or forward out of the socket with a traumatic hip dislocation.

  • Posterior Dislocation – Posterior hip dislocations are the most common. The lower leg will remain in a fixed position, with the knee and foot rotated toward the middle of the body.
  • Anterior Hip Dislocation – An anterior dislocation will result in the hip being slightly bent, and the leg will rotate out and away from the middle of the body.

Traumatic dislocations are usually accompanied by associated injuries such as damage to the ligaments, labrum, muscles, and other soft tissues holding the bones in place.

In addition, the nerves around the hip may also be injured.

Hip dislocation is a serious medical emergency. If you believe you have dislocated your hip, seek immediate treatment.

How Do You Know if Your Hip Is Dislocated?

A hip dislocation is extremely painful. It’s unlikely that you will be able to move your leg. If there is associated nerve damage, you may not have any feeling in your foot or ankle area.

Can You Still Walk on a Dislocated Hip?

You shouldn’t try to get up or help someone up if they have dislocated their hip. However, if you have found somebody with a dislocated hip, you should keep them warm until they receive medical assistance.

How Do You Fix a Dislocated Hip?

The two surgical options to fix a dislocated hip are:

Closed Reduction

When no other injuries are associated with the hip dislocation, the orthopedic surgeon will perform a closed reduction. After administering an anesthetic, they will manipulate the femur bone back to its proper position.

Open Reduction

Open reduction is when the surgeon needs to perform open surgery to reset the femur bone. This may be the case if torn soft tissues or small bony fragments block the bone from going back into the socket.

The surgeon will remove the loose tissues before positioning the bones.


Hip dislocation can create other problems, particularly associated fractures such as femoral head fractures.

  • Nerve injuries. Nerves can get crushed or stretched as the thigh bone is pushed out of the socket. This often occurs with posterior dislocations.

The most commonly affected nerve is the sciatic nerve which runs down the lower back and along the back of the legs. Sciatic nerve injury may cause weakness in the lower leg and reduce knee, ankle, and foot movement. 

  • Osteonecrosis. Hip dislocations can cause tears in the blood vessels and nerves. If the blood supply to the bone is lost, the bone can die.

This may lead to osteonecrosis, otherwise known as avascular necrosis. This condition could further destroy the hip joint and arthritis.

  • Arthritis. If protective cartilage becomes damaged, there is an increased chance of developing arthritis in the joint. Many with arthritis will eventually need a total hip replacement.


The average recovery time for hip dislocation is between 2 to 3 months. If there are additional fractures, then it may take longer. 

Some of the rehabilitation period may require that you limit your hip movement for several weeks. Physical therapy will also help your recovery.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Hip Specialist Today!

If you have been experiencing hip pain, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic Hip Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you. Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.

Hip Specialists


“Great experience for a right total hip replacement.“
Billy T.