Hip Fracture

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Hip Fracture

A hip fracture is a break or crack in the hip bone. A hip fracture usually occurs just below the outer half of the hip joint. This area is called the femoral neck, which is the neck of the thighbone (femur).

Anyone can fracture a hip, but it is more likely to occur in people over the age of 60. This population falls more often and develops osteoporosis, or low bone density. At least half of men and women over the age of 75 have osteoporosis.

What causes it?

Hip fractures in the elderly are usually caused by a fall. Osteoporosis is a common cause of hip fracture in women past menopause.

When younger people fracture a hip, it is more likely to be caused by an automobile accident or sports-related injury.

What are the symptoms?

In general, a hip fracture results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and, sometimes, bruising from internal bleeding.

The patient cannot bear weight or pressure on the leg, and may be unable to move the leg without severe pain.

The affected leg may look shorter than the other and may turn outward.

A hip fracture is diagnosed by a physical examination and x-rays of the injured area. However, some small fractures are difficult to see on an x-ray.

In this case, your doctor may order other diagnostic imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or bone scans.

What is the treatment?

If the bone is not separated, some hip fractures will heal on their own with bed rest, medication for pain, and follow-up physical therapy.

However, most hip fractures require surgery. The type of surgery depends upon the type of break. If pieces of the bone have broken off, the surgeon will remove the broken pieces.

Some breaks require the insertion of metal pins to support the bone as it heals. In some cases, the hip joint must be replaced, either partially or completely, with an artificial joint.

Recovery time depends upon the patient’s age and overall health. The patient progresses from crutches or a walker to a cane for support over an average time of six weeks.

Physical therapy helps the patient regain muscle strength, range of motion, and mobility. It is important for the patient to begin moving as soon as possible after surgery to prevent complications such as pneumonia and blood clots.

Self-care tips

Hip fractures should be treated as quickly as possible to avoid complications and ensure complete healing.

Weight-bearing exercise and sufficient amounts of calcium in the diet help strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis.

If you are elderly, make sure your home is free of objects that may cause tripping, such as loose rugs and stair treads or poorly arranged furniture.

Wear flat shoes with non-skin soles and hold onto a handrail when going up and down stairs and getting in and out of the bathtub.

If you are unsteady, use a cane or walker.

Doctors recommend estrogen therapy for women over the age of 50. This, as well as calcium supplements, can help lower the risk of osteoporosis and related bone injuries.

The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer .  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. .It should not replaced professional advise and consultation.  A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions 

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