In our practice we deal with many rather obvious problems such as fractures and dislocations of the hip. Instability of the hip is a much more subtle condition. Instability occurs when the ball of the hip, the femoral head, is not maintained in a stable way within the hip socket. This can be due to a shallow joint, a condition called hip dysplasia, or due to hyperflexibility of the soft tissues with certain conditions. Instability can also occur from injury to the ligaments of the hip from trauma. The hard thing about instability is that the X-rays and even the MRIs can often look completely normal. Only by stressing and pushing on the femur and reproducing a patient’s feeling can we make the diagnosis of instability.
The first step in the treatment of hip instability is to refer you to a physical therapist who will work on hip stabilizing exercises. Another measure that can be helpful is a hip brace to help to control the sliding of the femoral head and to restrict the range of motion until the soft tissues can regain their strength.
In severe cases of instability, arthroscopic or open hip surgery may be helpful to reconstruct and repair the stretched out ligaments that are causing the problem. One of the strategies is to tighten the outer covering of the joint, called the hip capsule.
For more information on causes and treatment of hip instability, please request an appointment with experienced orthopedic surgeon Dr. Amir Jamali. Call or email Joint Preservation Institute today to schedule your visit to our Sacramento or Walnut Creek office.