A hip fracture is a break in the thigh bone just below the hip joint. The hip joint consists of a ball at the top of the thigh bone and a rounded socket in the pelvis. Most hip fractures occur 1-2 inches below the ball portion of the hip in the neck of the thigh bone.
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Factors that may contribute to a hip fracture include:
Falls—the most frequent causeMotor vehicle accidents and other types of major traumaStress fractures in athletes—rareBone conditions such as osteomalacia—rareBone tumors—rare
Factors that increases your chance of getting a hip fracture include:
Previous hip fracture or history of fallingAge: 65 years or olderSex: female, especially after menopause
Family history of fractures later in lifeSmall-boned, slender body—low body weightCaucasian or Asian race
Osteoporosis—a bone-thinning condition that weakens all bones
Poor nutritionDeficient intake or absorption of calcium and vitamin DLow body weightPhysical inactivityWeaknessPoor balance and coordinationSmoking
Chronic disease or fragile healthDiabetesKidney diseaseIrregular heart beat or low blood pressureArthritisParkinson's disease
Mental impairments including
Alzheimer’s diseaseProblems with visionCertain medications which cause lightheadedness, drowsiness, or weaknessCortisone or other steroidsThyroid disorderHeart failure
Symptoms may include:
Pain in the hipDifficulty or inability to stand, walk, or move the hip
Abnormal appearance of the broken leg:
Looks shorterTurns outward
The goal is to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible while your broken bone heals. For older patients, staying in bed for even several days may lead to serious complications.
Taking all weight off the injured leg and immobilizing the fractureChecking vital signs such as blood pressureTreating problems such as internal blood lossPain control with pain killers and other drugs
Surgery is performed. This may involve:
Inserting a surgical plate and screws at the fracture siteReplacing the hip with a metal implant, which has a ball that fits into the hip socket and an attached stem which goes into the thigh bone to hold the implant in place
You may require: Exercises or therapy to help you return to your normal level of activityA cane or walker as advised by your doctorHelp with activities of daily living
If you are diagnosed with a hip fracture, follow your doctor's
Early corrective action may help lessen many of the factors that can lead to a hip fracture. Here's what you can do:
Eat a diet with nutrients for strong bones such as calcium,vitamin D, and protein.
Ask your doctor before you begin exercising. Exercises should include weight-bearing activities and strengthening exercises.
Talk to your doctor if you are at risk for
Ask your doctor if any of your medications may contribute to bone loss or symptoms of lightheadedness, drowsiness, or confusion.
Get your eyes checked regularly.
Reduce falling hazards at work and home:
Clean spills and slippery areas right away.Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter.Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub.Put in handrails on both sides of stairways.Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls.Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage.
Feskanich D, Willett W, Colditz G.
Walking and leisure-time activity and risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women.
11/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Sennerby U, Melhus H, Gedeborg R, et al. Cardiovascular diseases and risk of hip fracture.
van Diepen S, Majumdar SR, Bakal JA, McAlister FA, Ezekowitz JA. Heart failure is a risk factor for orthopedic fracture: a population-based analysis of 16,294 patients.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Lee JS, Buzková P, Fink HA, et al. Subclinical thyroid dysfunction and incident hip fracture in older adults.
Arch Intern Med.
Last reviewed May 2013 by John C. Keel, MD
; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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