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Health Information Center

Hip Dislocation

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Hip Dislocation

(Dislocated Hip; Dislocation, Hip)


A hip dislocation is when the ball of the thigh bone moves out of place within the socket of the pelvic bone. It is not common.

The Hip Joint.

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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:


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.


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





  • Hip dislocation—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/hip-dislocation-emergency-management.
  • Hip dislocation. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/hip-dislocation.
  • Hip dislocations. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/hip-dislocations.


  • Elizabeth Margaret Prusak, MD
Last Updated:

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.