The hip is a very stable joint. The hip socket is deep, the labrum that surrounds the socket creates a suction seal to keep the ball in place, and the ligaments that surround the hip joint (capsule) are extremely strong. Therefore, instability of the hip is a relatively rare condition. The most common causes of hip instability include traumatic injury (e.g. car accident or fall from height), ligamentous laxity (loose joints), and hip dysplasia (a bony abnormality). Instability refers to abnormal motion in the joint and may even lead to hip dislocation in which the ball completely moves out of the socket.
- A sense that the hip will dislocate when placing weight on the leg
- Clicking or shifting of the hip during activities such as walking or sports
- The ability to voluntarily bring the hip out of joint and place it back into joint
Diagnosis And Treatment
Dr. Welch considers each patient’s symptoms, as well as a detailed physical examination, x-rays, and usually an MRI of the hip to make the diagnosis of hip instability.
In patients with limited damage in the hip, non-surgical treatment with physical therapy is usually very helpful. The physical therapy program focuses on strengthening core and hip muscles around the hip joint. Non-surgical treatment also includes activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and on occasion, steroid or anesthetic injections. In those patients with recurrent episodes of instability or with damage in the hip (e.g. a torn labrum), surgical intervention may be the best option.