Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

My 80-year-old mother and our 18-year-old son both suffered a hip dislocation on the same day. What do you think the chances are of that happening!? But my real question is -- why is Mother recovering so much faster than our son? It seems like he has age on his side but he's really poking along compared to Mom.

Answer:

Most of us are familiar with older adults who fall and break a hip -- or break a hip and fall. It's an unfortunate event that adds insult to injury. But young adults are also at risk for hip dislocation from trauma. This time it's more likely as a result of a high-speed car crash. The incidence of hip dislocations is on the rise, not just from motor vehicle accidents, but also from falls, sports injuries, and getting hit by a moving vehicle if you are a walker. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that young people can heal easily and quickly and go their merry way. But, in fact, the risk of hip joint arthritis on that side goes way up after a traumatic hip dislocation at a young age. Even more so when there are other injuries along with the dislocation. Bone fractures, torn ligaments, and damaged joint cartilage are often present when the force of the injury is enough to dislocate the hip. Final results can depend on how quickly treatment (especially surgery) is provided. The accuracy of diagnosis is also important. If there is debris in the joint from bleeding or if there are bits of torn cartilage floating around inside the joint that go undetected, the patient's results can be compromised. There are many other factors affecting the outcomes such as type of dislocation, presence of additional damage in and around the joint, need for more invasive surgery, and so on. And the wisdom of age has its advantages. Older adults may know better how to rest, apply common sense, and progress forward bit by bit. Younger adults may overdo, fail to follow their surgeon's advice, and reinjure themselves during the prescribed period of rehabilitation. David M. Foulk, MD, and Brian H. Mullis, MD. Hip Dislocation: Evaluation and Management. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. April 2010. Vol. 18. No. 4. Pp. 199-209.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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