A hip injury can be hard to deal with, both for the child who has the injury and for the parent or caregiver. A child who has a hip injury may feel pain in the hip, groin, thigh, or knee. A child in pain may limp or be unable or unwilling to stand, walk, or move the injured hip. A baby in pain may cry, be fussy, and have other signs of pain.
To better understand hip injuries, it may be helpful to know how the hip works. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the shoulder joint but it does not move as freely. The hip joint is held together by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
A sudden (acute) injury may occur from a fall on a hip, a direct blow to a hip or knee, or abnormal twisting or bending of the leg. Acute injuries include:
Treatment for a hip injury depends on the location, type, and severity of the injury as well as the child's age, general health, and activity level. Treatment may include first aid measures; application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy; medicines; or surgery.
Check your child's symptoms to decide if and when your child should see a doctor.
Home treatment may help relieve your child's hip pain, swelling, and stiffness. If your child will cooperate, use the following tips. If your child becomes upset or will not cooperate, do not force your child.
|Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your child's fever or pain:|
Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
|Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
If your child has a cast, see cast care tips.
Call your child's doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
The following tips may prevent the chance of hip injuries.
Establish good safety habits early so that your child will continue them when he or she is older.
Injuries may occasionally be a sign of abuse. You may be able to prevent further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your health professional diagnose and treat your child's condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David Messenger, MD|
|Last Revised||August 12, 2010|
Last Revised: August 12, 2010
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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