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.
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 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 at risk of falls
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
Depending on the injury, treatment may include:
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
A physical therapist will assess the injury. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.