While posterior hip dislocations are somewhat common in head-on motor vehicle accidents and occasionally occur in elderly people with prosthetic hip joints during a minor slip or fall, they are quite rare in a wilderness environment. Most posterior hip dislocations require a significant traumatic MOI and many patients die from internal injuries to the pelvis, abdomen, chest, and head. Greater than 50% of patients have long-term disability after reduction. The femoral head is highly vascular and may die if not quickly reduced. Posterior hip dislocations are increasing along with the popularity of extreme sports; one study indicated that snowboarders were more likely to suffer a posterior hip dislocation than skiers.
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket synovial joint: the ball is the femoral head, and the socket is the acetabulum. The adult hip is quite stable. As such, knee and lower leg injuries are often seen in conjunction with posterior hip dislocations. Due to the potential for significant complications, an attempt should be made to reduce posterior hip dislocations in the field.
Posterior Hip Dislocation Signs & Symptoms
Interested in anticipating and prevention potential problems in the outdoors? What to be able to take care of your family or friends should something unexpected happen? Take one of our wilderness medicine courses. Guides and expedition leaders should consider taking our Wilderness First Responder course.
Looking for a reliable field reference? Consider consider purchasing one of our print or digital handbooks; our digital handbook apps are available in English, Spanish, and Japanese. Updates are free for life. A digital SOAP note app is also available.
Our public YouTube channel has educational and reference videos for many of the skills taught during our courses. Check it out!