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Hip Dislocation

Symptoms and treatment of a dislocated hip

A hip dislocation, which occurs when the head of the femur (thighbone) slips out of the pelvis (hipbone), can be very painful and debilitating to the sufferer. Hip dislocations cause the sufferer to be unable to move the leg or even to feel anything in the lower leg and feet. Luckily, hip dislocations can be treated, and with rehabilitation, you can regain feeling and movement in your leg.

Causes of Hip Dislocation

The pelvis and femur operate on a ball-and-socket system; in other words, the way your thigh bone fits into your hip bone allows greater movement of the leg. It takes a lot of force to separate the femur from the pelvis, so acquired hip dislocation is often caused by extremely traumatic incidents, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall. Congenital hip dislocation, on the other hand, is caused by trauma in the womb or at birth.

Sometimes, dislocation can be caused by hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip and thigh joint. There are two types of hip dysplasia: congenital and acquired. Congenital hip dysplasia is present at birth and can be corrected with surgery or traction using a specialized harness. Acquired hip dysplasia happens when an infant, who traditionally has malleable or soft joints, is placed repeatedly in a position that locks the hip joints. Again, this can be corrected.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

It is pretty obvious when someone's hip is dislocated. Not only does the person lose the ability to move the leg properly (or often, at all) but they are often also in extreme pain. In addition to pain at the site of the dislocation (the hip and pelvic area), the person may experience lower back pain as well as leg pain or a numbness of the leg and foot.

Treatment and Rehabilitation

If you have a dislocated hip, your doctor may suggest reduction, which involves moving the bones back into their proper place, with the help of anaesthetic, of course. You may require crutches for a certain amount of time after this procedure. Sometimes, a reduction must take place surgically, in an operating room, and will involve a CT scan afterwards to ensure that the joint is where it should be.

Rehabilitation is important for people who have had their hips dislocated. You will need approximately two to three months to heal, and your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist, who will help you regain full use of your hip using gentle exercise.

Hip dislocations can be painful, but with proper treatment and care, you can regain full movement and use of your leg.

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