What we call a hip fracture is one that is located on the proximal end of the thighbone (femur) and near the hip joint. It was termed hip fracture because it refers to the four kinds of fracture patterns that are often related to osteoporosis. A fall or even a minor trauma can bring about a hip fracture in elderly persons especially if the person has already weakened bones. This can be fatal for those older persons who are already suffering from osteoporosis so this needs quick medical attention.
The usual types of hip fractures are:
• Femoral neck fracture. This occurs at the neck of the femoral bone about one to two inches away from the hip joint. This is common among older people so it is always connected to osteoporosis. The critical point of this fracture is that it can cause complications when the break in the bones cuts off the blood supply that leads to the thighbone.
• Intertrochanteric hip fracture. If femoral neck fracture occurs one to two inches away from the hip joint, this fracture occurs three to four inches far from the joint on the hipbone. However, since this is two inches away from the neck of the femur it does not pose any danger of interrupting blood supply to the bone so it is easy rehabilitate.
• Stress fracture of the hip. This is the fracture that is a bit harder to diagnose because the fracture could only be caused by a hairline crack in the thighbone and may not also involve the whole femur. This can be caused by repetitive motion or the overuse of the femur, which causes a very small fracture. Its symptoms may also resemble those of muscle strain or tendonitis.
Hip Fracture Diagnosis
The doctor would most likely observe if there are abnormal positions of your upper leg and your hip. The result of the x-ray will confirm if there is a fracture or not. If there is an obvious sign that you have a fractured hip but the x-ray does not show anything then you may be subjected to an MRI or a CT scan so that even a hairline fracture could be visible.
For elderly and younger people, a hip fracture can occur due to any of the following causes:
• Falling from a high area where the hip landed first on the hard surface.
• Had a tremendous blow to the hip joint or the hip crushed to a large solid object such as during a car crash or motorcycle crash
• Having weak bone conditions such as osteoporosis, bone cancer, and tumor on the bones
Hip Fracture Symptoms
Because the hip is a large bone, it can easily show symptoms, which include:
• Disability of the person to move after the accident or fall
• Extreme pain in the groin or hip area
• There is stiffness in the lower body and bruises and swelling will appear around the hip area
• There would be pain on the leg and side of the injured hip especially when put on weight
• In some cases the leg that is on the side of the injured hip will become shorter
• For severe fracture the leg may turn outward on the side of the damaged hip
Hip Fracture Treatment
There will be major combination of treatments for a hip fracture and these are:
• Surgery. This procedure depends on the part of the hip that is injured and how severe the fracture has been. For femoral neck fractures, the doctors have the first option of using metal screws to hold bones together. This process is called internal fixation. When there is severe damage to the femur, the next option would be the replacement of some part of the femur. Metal prosthesis will be used in this process and this is called hemiarthroplasty. If the hipbone is also injured due to arthritis, the upper femur and the pelvic bone’s socket will be replaced by prostheses as well.
• Rehabilitation. After the surgery you will begin physical therapy and will undergo range of motion exercises and strengthening activities.
• Medication. You will be under medications so that your risk of a second hip fracture can be avoided. The medications for hip fractures are generally called bisphosphonates and these are made to make your bones stronger and denser.
You must have a healthy lifestyle with healthy diet while you are young so that when you are already in your 30s your bone mass is still solid and you have reduced the chance of getting an osteoporosis which can lead to hip fracture. Also, since hip injuries are caused by accidents and from falls perhaps you could consider avoiding high-risk sports so that your bones are safe from any fracture. You must also take adequate supply of calcium and Vitamin D to make your bones stronger. Lastly, make exercise a habit so that you could improve your balance and develop your muscles.
When to Call A Doctor
When you see symptoms of a hip fracture such as seeing the person complaining of pain in the hip area and being unable to stand or walk after an accident, check if there is deformity on the side of the injured area as well as swelling. If any of these manifests then you have enough reason to seek medical attention for the person. Hip fracture can disable the person so it is best to call medical help as soon as possible.