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Managing Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa hip dislocation

Posted on: April 2nd, 2020 by Our Team

Hip dislocations are not common in people that do not have a joint replacement, as the hip joint is very stable, and they usually require a major trauma to produce a dislocation such as a car accident or falls from significant heights. A joint dislocation is one of the few true orthopaedic emergencies.

Alabama’s team orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lyle Cain, announced Saturday night that Tagovailoa’s right hip dislocation was “immediately reduced at the stadium”. This was the right move as keeping the hip unreduced can complicate the long-term prognosis.

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the thighbone. Most of the times (over 90%) of the cases, the thighbone is pushed out of the socket in a backwards direction. This is called a posterior dislocation. This leaves the lower leg in a fixed position, with the knee and foot rotated in toward the middle of the body. Often times, this causes a fracture on the back of the hip as it is not common for the hip to purely dislocate. This was the lesion that Tua suffered. The prognosis of the lesion depends on how large the fractured fragment was, if there are multiple pieces and if an optimal reduction of the fracture could be done in surgery. Additionally, other lesions are common such as labral injuries (a rubber band that surrounds the hip to provide more stability) and the capsule (the lining of the joint).

Recovery depends on the severity of the fracture and the associated injuries. It can take from 4months to 1 year to fully recover depending on the initial injury. for the hip to heal after a dislocation. Recovering range of motion, endurance and then strengthening are of utmost importance to allow Tua to perform activity specific exercises to return to play. As he is a very talented player, possibilities of still end up being taken in the top-10 draft are still reasonable.

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