Hip Dislocation



A great deal of force is required to dislocate the hip. Common causes are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • A collision

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Prior hip replacement surgery
  • Doing activities that involve heights, such as being on a ladder
  • Playing certain sports, such as football, rugby, skiing, and snowboarding
  • Health problems that result in falls, such as weak muscles
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Having an abnormal hip joint



A hip dislocation can cause:

  • Pain in the hip, especially when trying to move the leg
  • Pain that spreads to the legs, knees, and back
  • One leg that looks shorter than the other
  • Problems walking


The doctor will ask about symptoms, past health, and injury. A hip and leg exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. Images of the hip will be done to look for possible fractures or damage to soft tissue. Images will be taken with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan



The goals of treatment are to put the bones back in place. Medicine will be given to help decrease pain. A doctor will move the bones to get the hip back into place. Tests will be done to make sure blood flow and nerves are not affected.

Surgery may be needed if there is a fracture or damage to nerves and blood vessels.

It may take 2 to 3 months to fully heal. Movement may be limited for a few weeks to prevent another dislocation. Crutches or walkers may be needed for support. Physical therapy may also be needed to help regain strength and range of motion.


Most hip dislocations are due to accidents and cannot be prevented.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.