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 a hip dislocation are:

  • Past 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 and past health. Questions will also be asked about how the injury happened. A hip and leg exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Pictures of the hip will be taken to look for possible fractures or damage to soft tissue. Images will be taken with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan



It can take 2 to 3 months to fully heal. The goal of treatment is to put the bone back in place to prevent long term problems.

Putting the Bone Back in Place

The bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor will do this by carefully moving the bone and using tension to align it. Anesthesia will be given to help manage pain.

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


Support can include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A walker or crutches to allow movement with less stress on the hip
  • Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, 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.