Hip Fractures

How common is a hip fracture?

Hip fractures are quite common. CDC studies show that approximately 300,000 individuals fracture a hip each year. Populations with a higher risk for hip fractures include:

  • People over 65 years: Older people are more susceptible to falls because of weaker and brittle bones.
  • Older women: This population registers three times more hip fractures than their male counterparts. Women’s bones become weaker after menopause.
  • People who lead sedentary lifestyles: Lack of physical exercise heightens the risk of hip fracture. Excessive alcohol consumption also weakens bones.
  • Patients taking certain medications: Drugs that lower your blood pressure or contribute to drowsiness can affect your walking and balance.
  • Osteoporosis patients: This illness makes bones weaker and increases a patient’s fracture risk.
  • People with poor health: Individuals with nutrient and vitamin deficiency face a higher risk of bone fractures. Conditions like Parkinson’s disease also heighten a person’s risk of falling.

What parts of the hip can break?

Components of the hip joint include the acetabulum and the femur.

Your hip socket accommodates the femoral head to create a joint. Muscles, soft tissues, tendons, and ligaments augment the joint. Hip fractures typically occur in specific sections of the femur.

Common hip fracture types include:

  • Intertrochanteric fracture: occurs between the femur’s long section and the bone’s neck.
  • Femoral neck fracture: occurs at the femur segment closest to the femoral ball.

What causes a hip fracture?

Accidents like car crashes and falls cause most fractures of the hip. Athletes involved in intense physical activity are also susceptible to stress fractures.

Hip fractures in older individuals typically result from sudden pivots, minor falls, or twisting. Osteoporosis patients can fracture their hip by engaging in everyday activities like walking and standing up.

How is a hip fracture treated?

Specific treatments for hip fractures depend on the fracture type, plus the age and health of the patient. Medical providers can recommend a variety of treatments after the initial diagnosis. The treatments include:

Surgery

Surgical repair is very effective in treating hip fractures. Techniques include:

  • Metal screws: Used to treat femoral neck fractures. If your femoral neck is in its natural position, you may need 2 or 3 metal screws to repair the fracture. Individuals who undergo the procedure may require walkers for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Metal plates: This technique is suitable for repairing intertrochanteric fractures. Specialists use metal plates and screws to hold several bone pieces together.
  • Intramedullary nail: This method involves placing a rod in the femur and using a screw to hold shattered bone pieces. The procedure enables individuals to bear weight and walk without assistance after the surgery.
  • Hemiarthroplasty: This procedure is ideal when the femoral head and neck are completely dislocated, and the blood vessels have ruptured. The technique involves artificially replacing your femoral head with a metallic one. Specialists only replace half of your hip joint and leave the socket intact.

Hip Replacement

Total and partial hip replacements can help individuals experiencing excessive pain after hip fractures. The treatment entails replacing the hip bone with a metallic one, allowing you to walk without pain. Doctors typically use this option after other treatments have proven unsuccessful.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists typically formulate a physical therapy program to help individuals regain strength, movement, and flexibility. Special exercises in such programs significantly enhance your motion and balance after hip arthroplasty.

Medication

Prescription drugs can minimize inflammation and pain after hip fracture. Antibiotics also reduce infection risks after surgery.

What is the outlook for patients with hip fractures?

A fracture of the hip can cause permanent life changes. Some individuals need a walker, while others require full-time care.

Key factors that determine a patient’s outlook include:

  • Age: Older patients may not recover from a hip fracture as swiftly, and some have underlying conditions that make them unfit for complex surgical procedures.
  • Type of hip fracture: Recovery can take longer as a hip fracture damages tissues and blood vessels. Femoral neck fractures can also lead to osteonecrosis.
  • Overall health: Healthy individuals recover from hip replacement surgery much faster than those with poor health. A quicker healing process minimizes the possibility of developing complications during bed rest.

Hip Fracture Treatment at Brooks Rehabilitation

At Brooks Rehabilitation, we offer various rehabilitation options for hip fractures including orthopedic surgery, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Contact us today to find a location near you and to schedule an appointment.

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