Traumatic hip dislocation occurs when the thigh bone is forced out of the hip bone socket as a result of major impact, such as during a fall from a significant height or a car accident.

During a hip dislocation, the femoral head is either pushed in a backward direction (posterior dislocation) or in a forward direction (anterior dislocation) out of the hip socket. Most patients experience a posterior dislocation.

When the hip dislocates, there are often other injuries, such as fractures in the pelvis and legs, and damage to the ligaments, labrum, muscles, and other soft tissues that hold the bones in place.

There may also be injuries to the nerves around the hip.

Hip dislocations are a medical emergency. They are very painful. Patients are unable to move the leg and, if nerve damage has occurred, may not have any feeling in the foot or ankle area. This injury requires immediate medical attention to avoid further complications.

A hip specialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group may recommend imaging tests, such as X-rays, to show the exact position of the dislocated bones, as well as any other fractures in the hip or thighbone. In the absence of other injuries, the physician will manipulate the femur back into the hip socket in a procedure called a closed reduction.

If the hip dislocation caused the femur to break, open reduction and internal fixation surgery may be necessary. In this procedure, the surgeon repairs the femur using metal hardware and may need to replace the hip socket with an implant.