How to tell if your hip is dislocated

Hip dislocation is a serious injury that often causes severe pain and limited mobility. Some signs that your hip might be dislocated include:

Severe Pain: Sudden and intense pain in the hip or groin area is a primary symptom of a dislocated hip.

Inability to Move: You might find it impossible or extremely difficult to move the affected leg or put weight on it.

Visible Deformity: Sometimes, a dislocated hip might cause the leg to appear shorter or twisted compared to the other leg.

Limited Range of Motion: You may experience a significant decrease in your ability to move your leg or hip joint.

Swelling and Bruising: Swelling and bruising around the hip area might occur due to the trauma of the dislocation.

Numbness or Tingling: In some cases, nerve damage associated with a dislocated hip might cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg.

Here at Easy Orthopedics in Colorado Springs, we frequently see patients with hip pain. Dislocated hips usually occur after major trauma, are congenital in nature, or can occur with minor trauma in those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

Can you walk with a dislocated hip?

Walking with a dislocated hip is usually extremely difficult or nearly impossible due to the severe pain and limited mobility it causes. Most individuals with a dislocated hip cannot bear weight on the affected leg or put any pressure on the joint due to the intense pain and instability.

The pain and structural damage resulting from a hip dislocation typically make it challenging to stand, let alone walk. Attempting to walk with a dislocated hip can worsen the injury and cause additional damage to the surrounding tissues, nerves, and blood vessels.

The above is true unless the hips are congenitally dislocated, or the hip capsule is very lax in those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Sometimes these individuals can walk around with a hip that is completely out of the socket without the same type of excruciating pain.

Will a dislocated hip go away?

A dislocated hip itself won’t simply “go away” without proper medical treatment. 

Treatment usually involves a medical professional manually relocating the hip joint, a procedure known as reduction. This should ideally be done promptly after the injury. Reduction helps place the hip back into its socket, alleviating pain and restoring proper alignment.

After the reduction, rehabilitation and follow-up care are typically necessary. Recovery may involve physical therapy, rest, and sometimes the use of assistive devices to support the hip as it heals.

In some cases, there might be associated damage to the ligaments, tendons, nerves, or blood vessels around the hip joint. Surgery might be necessary to repair these structures or to address complications related to the dislocation.

What does a hip dislocation feel like with EDS?

For individuals with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), experiencing a hip dislocation can vary in sensation and severity. Here are some potential feelings associated with a hip dislocation in individuals with EDS:

Increased Joint Laxity: EDS often leads to increased joint laxity and hypermobility. A hip dislocation might occur more easily due to this flexibility, and it might not always produce the same intense sensation of a typical dislocation in someone without EDS.

Acute Pain: Dislocating a hip can cause sudden, sharp pain at the hip joint. However, due to the frequent joint issues and chronic pain associated with EDS, the intensity of pain during a hip dislocation event might vary from person to person.

Feeling of Instability or Loose Joint: Some individuals with EDS might experience a sense of instability or looseness in the hip joint even before a dislocation occurs. This feeling might persist or intensify during or after a dislocation event.

Numbness or Tingling: Nerve involvement during a hip dislocation might result in sensations of numbness, tingling, or temporary loss of sensation in the hip area or down the leg.

Chronic Discomfort: Even after the hip is relocated, individuals with EDS may experience ongoing discomfort, as joint-related issues and chronic pain are common in EDS.

Because individuals with EDS often have joint hypermobility and are prone to joint-related complications, including dislocations, it’s crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals who understand EDS. Strategies may involve strengthening exercises, joint stabilization techniques, and personalized management plans to reduce the frequency of dislocations and manage associated pain and instability. Seeking medical attention promptly after a dislocation is essential to ensure proper treatment and minimize potential complications.

I hope we were able to answer some of your questions about how to tell if your hip is dislocated. If you would like us to evaluate your hip pain and are in the Colorado area, contact us below to make an appointment at Easy Orthopedics.

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