Dislocating a hip is a medical emergency, typically caused by large-force trauma like car accidents or a pedestrian getting hit by a car. Hip dislocations are sometimes caused by high-energy and high-impact sporting activities like football, water skiing, gymnastics, or equestrian sports.
You’ll need time to recover after the initial treatment for a dislocated hip. The hip specialists at Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center in Henderson and Las Vegas offer advanced treatments and the following best practices to help you heal from a hip dislocation.
What is a hip dislocation?
Dislocating a hip is a painful injury in which the ball of your femur comes out of its socket. You’re more at risk of dislocating a hip if it’s happened to you before, or you’ve had hip replacement surgery. You will instantly know that your hip has been dislocated because your leg will be out of position and you will experience significant pain.
About 90% of hip dislocations involve the hip joint being forced backward, called a posterior dislocation, which causes the knee and foot to point inward.
Dislocated hips can cause long-term damage, especially if they’re not treated immediately, or you don’t follow your doctor's advice for recovery.
Here are four best practices to help you heal from a dislocated hip:
1. Apply ice
Apply ice to the injury for 10-15 minutes at a time for the first three days or until the swelling goes down.
2. Rest the hip
The muscles surrounding the femur and pelvis become weaker after dislocation and need time to heal, sometimes 2-3 months. The knowledgeable team at Nevada Orthopedic recommends immobilizing the joint as much as possible while it recovers to prevent repeat injuries or new injuries due to the weakened joint.
After a few weeks of rest, we may recommend physical therapy or temporarily walking with crutches or other walking aids.
3. Don’t bend your hip beyond 90 degrees
You must avoid bending your hip beyond 90 degrees while recovering from a dislocated hip. Use a pillow between your legs and knees while sleeping to prevent the top leg from crossing over the bottom leg when you lie on your side. When sitting, don’t cross your legs.
4. Keep up with doctor-approved exercises
Our team suggests exercises to strengthen the muscles around your hip. The exact exercises depend on whether you’ve experienced other injuries along with your hip dislocation or if you required surgery to treat the dislocation.
Your short-term relief and long-term recovery from a hip dislocation involve urgent care at the time of injury. You can visit our Fast Track Clinic for same-day appointments for acute injuries, call us for an appointment, or schedule an appointment online for a consultation about your long-term hip dislocation recovery needs.