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Hip Subluxation and Dislocation: Symptoms and Treatment

Hip subluxation and hip dislocation are painful joint injuries that can occur as a result of serious trauma. Read on to learn about the differences between hip subluxation and dislocation as well as available treatment options for both injuries.

Joints are parts of the body where two or more bones meet, such as the ankles, knees, or hips. A dislocation is a painful injury that occurs when the ends of these bones are forced out of position. A partial dislocation is called a subluxation. Since hips are strong, it usually takes a significant force to dislocate them. 

To understand subluxation and dislocation, it helps to understand the anatomy of the hip joint. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. The femur (thigh bone) has a round head, and this head rests inside the hip socket, which is called the acetabulum. Both the ball and socket are covered in cartilage, which helps them glide across each other easily. A ring of cartilage on the acetabulum creates a tight seal and helps keep your joint stable. 

A hip dislocation is a medical emergency that occurs when the head of the femur is forced out of the hip socket. This typically occurs as a result of serious trauma. Car crashes are the most common cause of this injury, but a fall from a significant height or a sports injury — like a serious biking injury — could also create enough force to dislocate a hip joint. People with hip dislocations often have additional injuries, such as broken bones in the pelvis or legs.

A subluxation is a partial dislocation. It occurs when the head of the femur is only partially displaced from its normal position in the hip socket. Unlike a dislocation, the head of the femur is not fully forced out of the socket. 

Doctors may be able to diagnose a hip dislocation with a visual examination. Since people with hip dislocations often have additional injuries, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination. Doctors may also order appropriate imaging tests.

A doctor may be able to diagnose a dislocated hip just by looking at it. The joint may be visibly deformed. It may also look out of place. For instance, the leg could be bent at an unnatural angle, or the injured leg could be shorter than the other. 

However, since hip dislocations are often associated with broken bones or other additional injuries, the doctor will perform a thorough examination. This may involve ordering imaging tests. These tests, which may include X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, provide detailed images of your hip. With these images, your doctor can see the precise position of the dislocated bones. The imaging may also reveal broken bones or other injuries in the area.

Subluxation and dislocation of the hip are similar in that they both affect the bones of the hip joint. However, the difference between subluxation and dislocation is the degree of injury to the joint.

A dislocation means that the head of the femur is fully forced out of the hip socket. A subluxation, on the other hand, means the femoral head is partially forced out of place. Both injuries require immediate treatment.

Sometimes, doctors can repair a partially dislocated hip without surgery. In other cases, surgery may be required. After the subluxation is treated, your doctor may recommend physiotherapy.

Doctors may be able to treat partial hip dislocations without surgery if the femur isn’t fractured. This treatment is relatively straightforward. After giving you medication to relax your muscles and control your pain, they’ll push the head of the femur back into place. To confirm the joint is properly positioned, they may order X-rays.

Sometimes, doctors can repair a partially dislocated hip without surgery. In other cases, surgery may be required.

For people with fractured femurs, surgical treatment may be required. The surgeon may use screws or nails to hold the fracture together. If the head of the femur is damaged, they may need to replace some parts of the hip. In severe cases, they may have to perform a total hip replacement.

After the subluxation has been repaired, the doctor may give you medication to control pain and inflammation. You may also need to use crutches for a short period of time. To prevent future injuries to the hip, your doctor may prescribe physiotherapy. This treatment helps strengthen your ligaments and muscles.

A hip dislocation is a medical emergency. It must be treated right away, and depending on the injury, doctors may provide surgical or nonsurgical treatments. Your doctor will provide aftercare instructions to help you recover. 

For people with no other injuries, a hip dislocation can often be treated nonsurgically. After giving you anesthesia, the doctor will use their hands to push the head of the femur into the hip socket. This procedure is called a reduction. Imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, can confirm that the dislocation has been resolved.

A hip dislocation is a medical emergency. It must be treated right away, and depending on the injury, doctors may provide surgical or nonsurgical treatments.

Surgery may be required to treat a dislocated hip. Doctors may recommend surgery if imaging reveals broken bones, damaged blood vessels, damaged nerves, or other significant damage. Surgery may also be necessary if damaged tissues, such as bony fragments or torn soft tissue, are blocking the femoral head’s path into the socket. During surgery, the surgeon will repair any damaged tissues and reposition the bones. Again, imaging tests will be ordered to ensure the bones are correctly positioned.

Once your dislocated hip has been treated, your doctor may recommend steps to keep you comfortable while you heal. To control pain and swelling, they may recommend applying ice or taking over-the-counter pain medication. They may also recommend resting your injured hip and avoiding any motions that cause pain. After a day or two, your doctor may recommend gentle exercises to help maintain your hip’s range of motion. This is important because total rest can make your joint stiff.

Hip dislocations and subluxations are serious injuries, and it’s important to get treatment for them right away. If you think you’ve dislocated or partially dislocated your hip, call your doctor immediately. Prompt treatment may improve your prognosis, but complications can still occur.

Falls, car crashes, and other serious traumas can cause hip dislocations. If you experience this type of trauma and can’t move your hip joint, call your doctor immediately. You should also seek immediate medical attention if the hip looks deformed. Hip pain, swelling, and tenderness are other possible symptoms of a hip dislocation. 

With prompt treatment, your outlook may be improved. According to research, when a dislocated hip was repaired within six hours, 88 percent of patients had results that were good or better. When treatment is delayed, there’s a greater risk of permanent damage. People who wait 24 hours or more to seek treatment have the highest risk of permanent damage.

Even with treatment, complications can occur. One potential complication of a dislocation is avascular necrosis. When a joint is dislocated, a section of bone can lose its blood supply. Untreated, this bone can die or collapse. Another potential complication is early arthritis in the hip that was dislocated.

The most important thing to remember about subluxation and dislocation of the hip is that these injuries are serious and require prompt treatment. If you think you’ve suffered one of these injuries, seek medical attention. A doctor can examine your injured hip and determine if you have subluxation or dislocation, and then they can recommend appropriate treatment to help you get better.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/avascular-necrosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369859

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/hip-fractures

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dislocation/symptoms-causes/syc-20354113

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29261271

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/hip-dislocation

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gtr/conditions/C0434785/

https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_hip-dislocation.asp

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/traumatic-dislocation-of-the-hip-a-to-z

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dislocation/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354119

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