What is Hip Subluxation?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2018
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Hip subluxation occurs when the ball of the hip joint is only partly in its socket, which means that there is a partial dislocation. Symptoms include pain while walking, limping, and general pain in the hip area. Sometimes, there may be a discrepancy in leg length due to the dislocation. Although this problem can occur during sporting activity, it is more likely to happen during a trauma such as a car accident.

In general, a subluxation is caused by a large force hitting the hip. This can happen during an accident or during high impact sports, such as rugby. It’s essential for a dislocated hip to be correctly diagnosed quickly as it can cause problems in later life if not treated. A dislocated hip is a painful problem and often requires immediate treatment.

Diagnosis is usually made through an X-ray or CT scan, which will typically show the partial dislocation. It can be difficult to distinguish the injury from other hip problems without some sort of diagnostic scan as there are a large number of things that can cause hip pain.


Treatment of a hip subluxation depends on the severity of the injury as well as the type of dislocation. The most important thing is to get the hip back into place then start with conservative treatment. This involves resting the injured joint and using ice to control the inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medicine is also commonly used. Performing weight bearing activities on the joint before it has properly healed can place the patient at risk of causing further damage.

In some cases, surgery may be required for a dislocated hip. This may be necessary, for example, if there is a large amount of damage to the surrounding tissue or if fragments of bone are present and the hip cannot return to its original position naturally. Surgery is avoided if possible in most cases.

Recovering from a partial dislocation of the hip can be a long process. Many people find that it takes four to six months for a complete recovery and only if the correct treatment protocol has been followed. Physical therapy from a trained therapist that involves gentle range of motion exercises, strengthening, and stretching in order to improve the function of the joint is recommended. It’s important that these exercises are built up slowly over time, however, or else more damage can occur.


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Post 5

I had this happen when my foot slipped as my weight was on it while getting into my truck. When I got out of my truck that leg felt loose and I felt like my foot wasn't always straight while I was walking. I got back in my truck to go home and when I got in my seat with my hips bent I felt a lot of pain. I ended up where I could walk but getting in and out of bed and any sitting put pressure on the subluxation, so I tried using crutches with not much relief, then after researching on the internet tried a maneuver that popped it back into place. Get down on all fours

like a dog, then slowly get into a kneeling position, then slowly stretch and reach forward sliding hands on floor as far as you can reach, I did this several times, slowly and carefully and my hip popped back in place and I haven't had any more trouble.
Post 4

I've had left hip and knee pain the last six months, so bad that I couldn't go for a run. I've had physio, the physio has just taken an x-ray and discovered a subluxing hip joint with a tiny bit of bone floating next to it. I can't think of a single accident I've ever been in that might have caused this. Also, the pain isn't going away. I'm assuming the muscles around are getting stronger but the hip still feels 'clunky' and uncomfortable when I'm sitting down or if I do sit-ups. Should I insist on having the bone put back in place? Help!

Post 3

I was living with a subluxation of my right hip for the past 10 or so years. It was never diagnosed until about a month ago by a chiropractor who took an X-ray.

Among other things, I've been complaining about arthritis in my knees and pain in my back as well as my hip to doctors, and no one ever took an X-ray before now. The chiropractor also told me I had a subluxation of a vertebrae in my lower back, which had been causing all my back pains for the same last 10 or so years. NSAIDs and pain killers for my knees have helped me cope with the pain in my hip and back, as well.

Because both

my hip and the vertebrae in my back were out of place for so long, I was going to the chiropractor three times a week while doing physical therapy to constantly put my hip back where it belongs. I'm still in the recovery process and am going to the chiropractor once a week but believe me, I feel worlds better than I did two months ago! Subluxation is nothing to sneeze at!
Post 2

@Azuza - Hip dysplasia does sound pretty awful! And it doesn't just happen to people either. A friend of mine had to have her dog treated for a dislocated hip and she told me that was a long, painful and expensive process as well.

Post 1

One of my aunts had subluxation of the hip from a car accident and it seemed so painful. In addition to the pain, the recovery time was long. My whole family took turns taking her to various doctors and physical therapy appointments. Luckily she made a full recovery but I still wouldn't wish a dislocated hip on anyone!

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