Relocation of a hip joint is often quite a sight to see in the ED. A commonly taught technique is the Allis maneuver (watch the first 45 seconds of the above video from the Medical College of Georgia). It has always seemed a bit precarious to me having someone stand on the patient’s bed.

Trick of the Trade:

Captain Morgan technique 1


You can apply 3 forces of axial traction to the femur.

  • Position the patient: 90 degrees of hip and knee flexion
  • Step one foot up onto the gurney Captain-Morgan style (flamboyant cape optional).
  • Position your knee behind the patient’s knee.
  • Ideally your foot should be resting on a hard surface like a backboard to allow your foot to push off of it.
  • Place one hand (A) under the patient’s knee and the other (B) over the patient’s ankle.
  • Use Hand A to lift up on the patient’s femur.
  • Plantar-flex your ankle so that your propped knee can lift up on the patient’s femur.
  • Very gently use Hand B to leverage-down on against the patient’s tibia/fibula.


Pearls straight from “Captain” Hendey (Dr. Greg Hendey wrote the article):

  • Make sure to put the patient on a backboard and attach a strap over the pelvis to stabilize it to the board–this works far better than having some tech trying to lie across the patient, and it’s better than tying a sheet around the gurney and the patient.  It also provides a firm place to put your foot.
  • Make sure to tuck your knee tightly under the patient’s knee so that when you lift up on your tiptoes, all the force is transmitted into lifting the patient’s hip.  If your leg is much shorter than your patient’s leg, you may need to put a book under your foot to get your knee tucked under theirs.
  • Once you’re lifting, keep a steady sustained force, just like any large joint reduction–no sudden jerky movements.  Once you feel it start to move, don’t stop–sometimes people stop lifting too soon when they feel movement, but before the reduction has occurred.
  • If it’s not moving, try rocking back and forth, and twisting the leg (internal and external rotation at the hip) while you’re lifting.

Video 1:

The provider does not use Hand A to lift up, although it seemed that he kind of wanted to. Note that he was stepping on the hard bed under the soft gurney mattress.

Video 2:

The provider (video by @SacchettiAlfred) shows you how you really need Hand A to help you to lift.

NPR interview
with the article’s author and my friend, Dr. Greg Hendey (UCSF-Fresno).

Thanks to Dr. Graham Walker for letting us know about this great pearl from his new Gmergency! Tumbler site.

Hendey G, Avila A. The Captain Morgan technique for the reduction of the dislocated hip. Ann Emerg Med. 2011;58(6):536-540. [PubMed]
Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at Bio:
Michelle Lin, MD