Subluxation occurs when the hip joint is forced partially out of its natural position. It is a type of dislocation and usually occurs as a result of injury.


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What is subluxation?

When the hip joint is fully dislocated, the ball-shaped head of the thighbone is completely forced out of the socket. Hip subluxation occurs when the hip joint has only been partially dislocated from its normal position and although the symptoms are often more subtle it can still cause pain, swelling and reduced mobility. Some people are born with conditions such as hip dysplasia that cause greater hip instability and make hip problems more likely, but usually subluxation is the result of acute injury and requires immediate treatment. 

If you are experiencing hip pain, are having difficulty bearing weight, or hear any unusual snapping or popping sounds coming from your hip you should seek medical advice. Your doctor may suggest further examinations such as an X-ray or MRI to confirm the injury and decide upon the best course of treatment. There is a greater likelihood of developing arthritis later in life after this type of hip injury.

How is it treated?

If there is no fracture, your doctor may be able to manipulate the hip joint back into place without surgery. If the thighbone is fractured, it is more likely that surgery will be required to pin the bones back together using screws or nails. In more severe cases, a total hip replacement may be recommended.

How long does it last?

This type of hip injury needs immediate attention. If there is no damage to the surrounding area it can usually be resolved quickly. You may need to use crutches for a short period of time afterwards to relieve pressure on the joint while you recover. You doctor may recommend some physiotherapy to strengthen the supporting muscles and ligaments. If the subluxation results in further surgery such as a total hip replacement, the recovery time will be much longer. 


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