Hip Dislocation

The hip is the ball-and-socket joint where the pelvis and the femur connect. It consists of a 'ball' which is the end of the femur bone called the femoral head, and a 'socket' or opening in the hip called the acetabulum, with other components such as cartilage and fluid.


In a healthy hip, the femoral head (the ball) rotates within the acetabulum (socket). When the femoral head is forced out of the acetabulum, this is called hip dislocation.

There are two forms of hip dislocation: posterior dislocation and anterior dislocation. In the case of posterior dislocation, the femoral head is pushed out of its socket in a backward direction. This is the most common form of hip dislocation. In the case of an anterior dislocation, the femoral head is pushed out of the socket in a forward direction.

Patients with hip dislocation typically experience pain, lose mobility of the leg, and may even lose feeling in their ankle and/or foot. Hip dislocation is often accompanied by additional injuries like fractures to the pelvis, legs, back or knee.

A physician is often able to identify a dislocated hip by visual inspection however imaging tests, such as x-rays, may be ordered to view the position of the femoral head as well as check for any additional injuries.

Recovery from hip dislocation can take up to 3 months. In some cases, hip dislocation can lead to nerve damage, arthritis or osteonecrosis, a condition where lack of blood flow to the bone causes the bone to die.

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