A hip subluxation is a condition in which the hip joint is partially, but not fully, dislocated. The causes of hip subluxation can vary and include athletic trauma or overuse, postural strain, and congenital conditions that lead to improper development of the ball of the hip or of the socket portion of the joint. In some cases surgery may be necessary, while in other cases conservative measures are sufficient to restore proper function.
A study on the effects of surgery for hip subluxation published in the November 2005 "Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British Volume" looked at surgery for hip subluxation as a complication of intermediate spinal atrophy in 30 patients. One out of nine who had surgery reported a satisfactory outcome and four experienced recurrence of their subluxations. Among the 21 patients who did not have surgery, 18 still had hip subluxation at the last follow-up interview and only one of those had hip pain. Patients were evaluated using subjective reporting of their symptoms as well as with the use of imaging studies. The authors concluded that surgery was not justified for the patients included in their study.
Some hip subluxations can be corrected using a chiropractic manipulation that uses a low-force oppositional resistance maneuver to reset the hip joint into the socket, according to the website DynamicChiropractic.com. This maneuver is helpful in situations where imbalanced muscles have allowed the head of the femur to slide forward and outward. It is accomplished by having the patient positioned on his or her back with the affected leg bent at the knee and hip and with the knee drawn slightly across the body. While holding the leg to stabilize it, the chiropractor moves in a direction that brings the leg up and out while the patient resists that motion, pulling the hip joint gently into place.
Some forms of hip subluxation respond well to a protocol of rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications after the hip has been put back into place using a conservative method. A fairly long time frame of four to six months is required in conjunction with strict adherence to an appropriate treatment protocol. Once the majority of pain and inflammation have resolved, a program of gentle range of motion exercises, along with stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak ones will help speed recovery and ensure long-term stability of the hip joint. Engaging in weightbearing exercise too early, before the hip has had a chance to sufficiently heal, can place the joint at risk and may cause further damage and complications.