Hip Replacement Dislocation: Symptoms and Treatment

Hip replacement surgery has been a successful treatment for many people suffering from hip injuries or painful conditions such as arthritis. After surgery, patients can often return to activities like walking, swimming, biking, and other forms of recreation in time.  But what happens when the pain returns? Hip replacement dislocation is not uncommon following surgery. Below you’ll find information to help you determine if dislocation may play a role in any pain you’re currently experiencing after hip replacement surgery.

Common Hip Replacements Symptoms

Dislocation most commonly occurs within three months of hip replacement surgery, while the muscles and ligaments are still healing. It can happen instantaneously and without warning.  Sometimes the patient will notice no symptoms at all. However, many patients report experiencing the following symptoms of dislocation:

  • Feeling that the hip bone has “slipped” out of joint
  • Hearing a popping sound
  • Feeling that the affected leg is shorter than the unaffected leg
  • Feeling that the affected leg is turning inward
  • Feeling intense, severe pain in the groin area
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected leg/hip
  • Inability to move leg/hip fully

Why Does this Happen?

There are several important factors involved in the success or failure of a hip replacement surgery. The type of hip replacement hardware you received can greatly increase the chances of dislocation. For example, several metal-on-metal models, including those produced by DePuy and Zimmer have been recalled due to faulty design. Studies show that hip replacement failure, including dislocation, occurs nearly twice as often with metal-on-metal artificial hips than with those made with safer materials. To make matters worse, the friction during movement between the metal parts of the artificial hips can release toxic particles into surrounding tissues, causing further structural damage or infection to the hip area.

The surgical placement of the artificial hip also plays a critical role in the success or failure of the device. Lastly, nursing care, physical therapy, and patient teaching are absolutely necessary to avoid dislocation of the hip replacement. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was my hip replacement recalled?
  • Was my hip replacement a metal-on-metal device?
  • Did my surgeon perform my surgery correctly and inform me about the risks?
  • Did I receive proper physical therapy, teaching, and follow-up care?

Patients who feel that any of these critical areas of treatment were overlooked should contact a legal professional to discuss their legal rights and options.

What to Do if You Suspect Hip Replacement Dislocation

If you experience any of the symptoms discussed in this article, call your surgeon immediately.   Prompt treatment will be necessary. Do not try to walk or drive on your own. With each slip of the “ball from the socket” which comprises the hip joint, the surrounding muscles and ligaments become less stable. Further dislocations become an ever increasing risk.

The mental burden of such an ailment has also been documented as a source of depression and social withdrawal.  In addition to the mental costs, the costs of hip repair or revision, loss of income, and accompanying pain and suffering have prompted many to file lawsuits against the manufacturers of faulty hip replacements.