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Physical Therapy for Hip Dislocation – Information, Exercises, and More

Have you experienced a hip dislocation? 

You may still be dealing with lingering effects such as acute pain and muscle spasms. It can greatly affect your day-to-day life. 

Physical therapy can help speed the healing process and decrease the risk of recurrence. 

Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and treatments of hip dislocation and the benefits of physical therapy for hip dislocation. 


hip dislocation physical therapy exercises



What Is Hip Dislocation?

Hip dislocation is when the ball joint of your hip comes out of its socket

Because of the stability of the hip, dislocations are rare — and usually due to trauma or extreme force. The hip can dislocate in either a posterior (back) or anterior (front) direction. 

A hip dislocation is considered a major medical emergency, causing acute pain. It disables your leg until it’s corrected. It can cause secondary injuries and result in long-term damage if it’s not treated properly or right away. 

What Is Partial Hip Dislocation (Subluxation)?

A hip subluxation means your ball joint has shifted only partially out of its socket. It is more common in people who have hip dysplasia or hip replacement. 

A subluxation can be considered mild or severe:

  • Milder cases
    • May be caused by general wear and tear on your hip
    • May be chronic or recurring
    • Might be able to pop it back in place yourself
  • Severe cases
    • Tends to be caused by injury
    • Can be as painful and debilitating as a total dislocation 
    • May need to be reset by a professional

What Causes Hip Dislocation?

A majority of hip dislocations occur in the posterior position. 

Posterior hip dislocations happen when a large force impacts the leg while:

  • The knee is bent
  • The hip is bent
  • The hip is adducted (moved toward the opposite leg); and
  • The hip is internally rotated (turned in)

High-contact sports like football or rugby, where the player lands hard on a knee, can cause this hip dislocation. Sports-related injuries are a leading cause of hip dislocation.

Motor vehicle accidents account for many posterior hip dislocations as well, resulting from the knee hitting the dashboard.

Anterior hip dislocations occur when a significant force impacts the leg while:

  • The hip is bent
  • The hip is abducted (away from the body); and
  • Externally rotated (turned out)

These hip dislocations can occur when landing awkwardly in jumping sports like skiing, gymnastics, or basketball. 

Hip dislocation can sometimes occur in individuals with hip dysplasiaa developmental condition in which your hip joint doesn’t fit well in the socket. 

Hip Dislocation Symptoms

Hip dislocation causes severe acute pain. The pain may run down the leg to the knee or into the back.

You may also experience:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Inability to walk
  • Inability to place weight on the knee
  • Swelling or discoloration at the hip joint
  • Weakness of the hip joint
  • Numbness or tingling in the leg
  • Issues with circulation 

Hip Dislocation Treatment

Your doctor will examine your injury and likely order an X-ray and/or MRI:

  • X-ray
    • Used to confirm dislocation and look for broken bones or damages to the joint
  • MRI
    • Used to assess damage to soft tissue around the joint

Depending on the exam results, location, and severity, treatment may include:

  • Reduction
    • Your doctor will gently put the joint back into position with manipulation.
  • Immobilization
    • After the joint is in position, your doctor might immobilize it with a sling or splint.
  • Surgery
    • If the joint can’t be placed into position, your doctor may recommend surgery.
  • Physical Therapy
    • After the sling or splint is removed, hip dislocation physical therapy can help restore joint strength and motion. 

If left untreated, you can severely damage your ligaments. This can lead to deformity, pain, or osteoarthritis

Hip Dislocation Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

Yes, physical therapy for hip dislocation is often ordered by doctors following initial treatment or surgery. 

Physical therapy will focus on:

  • Reduction of pain
  • Progression of weight bearing
  • Improving range of motion; and 
  • Hip stability and strength

Hip Dislocation Physical Therapy Exercises

In addition to a personalized hip dislocation physical therapy protocol, your therapists may use modalities including …

  • Ultrasound
  • Electrical stimulation 
  • Ice; and
  • Cold laser

… to reduce pain and inflammation. 

They may also include a home program that includes exercises for:

  • Strengthening
  • Stretching; and
  • Stabilization 

Other common hip dislocation physical therapy techniques include:

  • Manual Therapeutic Techniques; and
  • Neuromuscular reeducation 

Manual Therapeutic Techniques (MTT)

Manual Therapeutic Techniques include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching
  • Joint mobilization; and
  • Other hands-on care

The goal of MTT is to improve …

  • Pain
  • Alignment
  • Mobility; and
  • Range of motion 

… of the hip.

Neuromuscular Reeducation (NMR)

Neuromuscular reeducation is used to restore normal body movement patterns like:

  • Running
  • Kneeling
  • Squatting; and
  • Jumping 

NMR consists of:

  • Manual techniques 
  • Activities for balance and core control; and
  • Therapeutic exercises designed to re-develop normal controlled movements

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Hip Dislocation Recovery

In Motion O.C. can help you achieve your hip dislocation recovery goals through exercises and treatments tailored to your needs.

Our physical therapists have helped dozens, if not hundreds, of people recover from various ailments.

We are also proud to say that In Motion O.C. is #1 among physical therapistsand we have testimonials and case studies to prove it.

Let our therapists work with you one-on-one to determine the best approach for your recovery through customized hip dislocation physical therapy

Contact In Motion O.C. today.


The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.

In Motion O.C.