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:
Avulsion fracture. This occurs when a
muscle forcibly tears away from a bone and breaks a piece of bone.
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.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and
arrange for care.
If you cannot reach your doctor or you don't have
one, seek care in the next hour.
You do not need to call an
You cannot travel safely either by driving
yourself or by having someone else drive you.
You are in an area
where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.
Call 911 Now
Based on your answers, you need
Call911or other emergency services now.
Put direct, steady pressure on the
wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in children are:
Diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, sickle
cell disease, and congenital heart disease.
which are used to treat a variety of conditions.
after organ transplant.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for
Not having a spleen.
When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood
supply to the area. This can be serious.
There are other reasons
for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn
blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color
returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area
looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and
this change does not go away.
Shock is a life-threatening condition that may occur quickly
after a sudden illness or injury.
Symptoms of shock in a child may include:
Being very sleepy or hard
to wake up.
Not responding when being touched or talked to.
Breathing much faster than usual.
The child may not know where he or she is.
Pain in children under 3 years
It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.
Severe pain (8 to 10): The
pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries
constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or
Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is
very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds
when you try to comfort him or her.
Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds
when you try to comfort him or her.
Try Home Treatment
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Try home treatment to relieve the
Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any
concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect).
You may need care sooner.
bleeding does not stop or slow down with pressure.
Blood is quickly soaking through bandage after bandage.
With moderate bleeding, any of these may
The bleeding slows or stops with pressure but
starts again if you remove the pressure.
The blood may soak through
a few bandages, but it is not fast or out of control.
With mild bleeding, any of these may be
The bleeding stops on its own or with
The bleeding stops or slows to an ooze or trickle after
15 minutes of pressure. It may ooze or trickle for up to 45 minutes.
Major trauma is any event that can
cause very serious injury, such as:
A fall from more than
10 ft (3.1 m) [more than
5 ft (1.5 m) for children under
2 years and adults over 65].
A car crash in which any vehicle
involved was going more than
20 miles (32 km) per
Any event that causes severe bleeding that you cannot
Any event forceful enough to badly break a bone.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
Your age. Babies and older
adults tend to get sicker quicker.
Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart
disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care
Medicines you take. Certain
medicines, herbal remedies, and supplements can cause symptoms or make them
Recent health events, such as surgery
or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them
Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug
use, sexual history, and travel.
Pain in children 3 years and older
Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain
is so bad that the child can't stand it for more than a few hours, can't sleep,
and can't do anything else except focus on the pain. No one can tolerate severe
pain for more than a few hours.
Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt the child's normal activities and
sleep, but the child can tolerate it for hours or days.
Mild pain (1 to 4): The child notices and may complain of the pain,
but it is not bad enough to disrupt his or her sleep or activities.
Make an Appointment
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Make an appointment to see your doctor in the
next 1 to 2 weeks.
If appropriate, try home treatment while you
are waiting for the appointment.
If symptoms get worse or you have
any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.
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.
Rest. Have your child rest and protect the sore
hip. Have your child stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may
be causing pain or soreness.
Place your child on the uninjured side for
Gently massage or rub your child's hip to relieve pain and
encourage blood flow.
For the first 1 to 2 days after an injury, do
not let your child do things that may increase swelling, such as taking hot
showers, using hot tubs, or using hot packs.
After 2 to 3 days, if the
swelling is gone,
heat can be put on the hip. Your child can carefully
begin normal activities. Moist heat with a hot water bottle or warm towel may feel good to your child.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
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:
Carefully read and follow all labels on
the medicine bottle and box.
Give, but do not exceed, the maximum
Do not give your child a medicine if he or she
has had an
allergic reaction to it in the past.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your child's condition by being prepared
to answer the following questions:
What are your child's main symptoms? How long has
your child had symptoms?
How and when did an injury
Has your child had any injuries in the past to the same
area? Does your child have any continuing problems because of the previous
Does your child limp or complain about pain when he or she
walks? Where is the pain felt? How far can your child walk without discomfort?
Does the pain get better or worse as he or she continues to
What activities make your child's symptoms better or worse?
What activities is your child involved with? Has your child
recently started a new activity?
What home treatment measures have
you tried? Did they help?
What prescription or nonprescription
medicines has the child taken? Did they help?
Does your child have
health risks that may increase the seriousness of his
or her hip symptoms?
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.