As one of the most load-bearing joints in the body, the hips nearly affect every movement. If the hip joint is involved in a vehicle crash, the space in the joint/hip capsule can fill with fluid, causing joint effusion or swelling, inflammation, dull-immobilizing pain, and stiffness. Hip pain is a common injury symptom reported after a vehicle crash. This pain can range from mild to severe and may be short-term or last for months. No matter the level of pain being experienced, action must be taken quickly to avoid long-term damage. Individuals need high-quality, patient-focused care from experienced specialists as soon as possible to get on the road to recovery.
Table of Contents
Vehicle Crash Hip Injury
The hip joints must be healthy and work as effectively as possible to stay active. Arthritis, hip fractures, bursitis, tendonitis, injuries from falls, and automobile collisions are the most common causes of chronic hip pain. Depending upon the type of injury, individuals may experience pain symptoms in the thigh, groin, inside of the hip joint, or buttocks.
The most common injuries that cause pain in the hip after a collision include:
- Hip ligament sprain
- Hip labral tear
- Hip dislocation
- Hip fracture
- Acetabular fracture
Hip Ligament Sprains or Strains
- A hip ligament sprain or strain is caused by overstretched or torn ligaments.
- These tissues attach bones to other bones and provide stability to the joints.
- These injuries may only require rest and ice to heal, depending on the severity.
- Chiropractic, decompression, and physical massage therapies may be necessary for realignment and to keep muscles flexible and relaxed.
- Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, or the fluid-filled sac providing cushioning/material between bones and muscles.
- It is one of the main causes of hip pain after an automobile collision and requires immediate medical attention.
- Tendonitis is a type of injury that affects soft tissues like tendons and ligaments, as opposed to bone and muscle.
- Tendonitis can result in chronic pain and various discomfort symptoms in and around the hip area if left untreated.
Hip Labral Tear
- A hip labral tear is a type of joint damage in which the soft tissue/labrum that covers the hip’s socket gets torn.
- The tissue ensures that the thighbone head moves smoothly within the joint.
- Damage to the labrum can lead to severe pain symptoms and affect mobility.
- A hip dislocation means the femur ball has popped out of the socket, causing the upper leg bone to slide out of place.
- Hip dislocations can cause avascular necrosis, which is the death of bone tissue from a blockage in the blood supply.
- The hip bones can be broken down into three parts:
- A hip fracture, or broken hip, occurs whenever a break, crack, or crush happens to any one of these parts of the hip.
- An acetabular fracture is a break or a crack outside the hip socket that holds the hip and thigh bones together.
- A fracture to this body part is not as common because of the location.
- Significant force and impact are often necessary to cause this type of fracture.
If any of the following symptoms after a vehicle crash are experienced, it could be a hip injury and should be examined by a medical professional. These include:
- Soreness or tenderness at the site of injury.
- Difficulty moving the hip/s.
- Intense pain when walking.
- Loss of muscle strength.
- Abdominal pain.
- Knee pain.
- Groin pain.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
A doctor or specialist should always evaluate hip problems and pain symptoms. With the help of a physical examination and diagnostics like X-rays, CT Scans, or an MRI, a physician can diagnose and recommend treatment options. Treatment after a vehicle crash depends on the severity of the damage. For example, hip fractures often require immediate surgery, while other injuries may only necessitate medication, rest, and rehabilitation. Possible treatment plans include:
- Pain, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory medication.
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Chiropractic realignment
- Spinal decompression
- Exercise therapy
- Steroid injections
- Surgery – after surgery, a physical therapist can help stretch and work on muscles around the hip to gain mobility and flexibility for a complete recovery.
- Total hip replacement
Our team collaborates with the necessary specialists to provide the complete care needed to experience full recovery and healing for long-term relief. The team will work together to form a comprehensive treatment plan to strengthen the hip muscles for better support and increased range of motion.
Movement as Medicine
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Fadl, Shaimaa A, and Claire K Sandstrom. “Pattern Recognition: A Mechanism-based Approach to Injury Detection after Motor Vehicle Collisions.” Radiographics: a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc vol. 39,3 (2019): 857-876. doi:10.1148/rg.2019180063
Frank, C J et al. “Acetabular fractures.” The Nebraska medical journal vol. 80,5 (1995): 118-23.
Masiewicz, Spencer, et al. “Posterior Hip Dislocation.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 22 April 2023.
Monma, H, and T Sugita. “Is the mechanism of traumatic posterior dislocation of the hip a brake pedal injury rather than a dashboard injury?.” Injury vol. 32,3 (2001): 221-2. doi:10.1016/s0020-1383(00)00183-2
Patel, Vijal, et al. “The association between knee airbag deployment and knee-thigh-hip fracture injury risk in motor vehicle collisions: A matched cohort study.” Accident; Analysis and Prevention vol. 50 (2013): 964-7. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2012.07.023
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