Add To PHR
A hip fracture is more than a broken bone. If you are older, breaking your hip can mean a major change in your life. You will probably need surgery, and it can take as long as a year to recover. But activity and physical therapy can help you get your strength and mobility back.
Most people break their hip near the upper part of the thighbone (femur). It usually happens near where the thighbone fits into the hip joint.
Most hip fractures happen to people who are 65 or older, and they are usually caused by falls. As you get older, your bones naturally lose some strength and are more likely to break, even from a minor fall. Children and young adults are more likely to break a hip because of a bike or car accident or a sports injury.
Other things that increase your risk of breaking your hip include:
If your hip is broken, you will most likely:
These symptoms are most common after a fall. But if you have very thin bones from osteoporosis or another problem, you could break your hip without falling.
In rare cases, people have only thigh or knee pain. They may be able to walk.
Doctors use X-rays to diagnose a broken hip. You may need another test if your doctor thinks that you have a fracture but can't see it on an X-ray. You might have a test such as:
You will most likely need surgery to fix your hip. Surgery usually works well, but your hip will probably take a long time to get better.
Surgery is done as soon as possible after a hip fracture is diagnosed, often within 24 hours. Having surgery right away may help shorten your stay in the hospital and decrease pain and complications. Sometimes surgery is delayed for 1 to 2 days so other medical problems can be treated first. This may make surgery less risky.
The type of surgery you have will depend on where the break is and how bad it is.
After surgery, your doctor will want you to start moving as soon as you can. This will help prevent problems such as pneumonia, blood clots, and bed sores. These things may happen because you have to stay in bed so long. You may also need to take a blood-thinner (anticoagulant) medicine to reduce the risk of blood clots
After your surgery, it will be hard to do things like cooking and getting dressed by yourself. So for a while you may need to be in a nursing home or rehabilitation center.
Your doctor will encourage you to take part in a rehabilitation (rehab) program that includes physical therapy and occupational therapy. This will teach you:
Taking part in a rehab program is very important because it will speed up your recovery and help you to get back to your normal activities sooner.
After a hip fracture, some people aren't ever able to get around as well as they could before. They may need to use a walker or cane. They may need help with daily activities such as dressing and bathing. And many can no longer live on their own. Work hard to get your strength and mobility back so you can be as independent as possible.
There are many things you can do to prevent a hip fracture. One of the most important is to prevent osteoporosis. Bone thinning can happen to men or women. But it is more common in women.
To keep your bones strong:
You also need to be extra careful to prevent falls. Here are a few ways to make your home safer:
It can also help to:
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Learning about hip fracture:
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) provides information and education to raise the public's awareness of musculoskeletal conditions, with an emphasis on preventive measures. The AAOS website contains information on orthopedic conditions and treatments, injury prevention, and wellness and exercise.
This branch of the CDC seeks to prevent injuries and violence and to reduce their consequences. The website has information on injuries, accidents, and situations that can lead to injuries. Topics include home and recreational safety, motor vehicle safety, violence prevention, and traumatic brain injury.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is a governmental institute that serves the public and health professionals by providing information, locating other information sources, and participating in a national federal database of health information. NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and supports the training of scientists to carry out this research.
The NIAMS website provides health information referrals to the NIAMS Clearinghouse, which has information packages about diseases.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) funds research and publishes educational material about osteoporosis for consumers and health professionals. The NOF also provides information about bone density testing sites, new treatment, and local groups interested in osteoporosis. The foundation's mission is to prevent osteoporosis, promote lifelong bone health, help improve the lives of those affected by osteoporosis and related fractures, and find a cure.
Other Works ConsultedAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Fracture of the proximal femur. In LY Griffin, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 563–567. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2007). Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement. Available online: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00404&return_link=0.Fiechtner JJ (2003). Hip fracture prevention. Postgraduate Medicine, 114(3): 22–32.Gillespie LD, et al. (2009). Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).Goldstein WM, Branson JJ (2004). Posterior-lateral approach to minimal incision total hip arthroplasty. Orthopedic Clinics of North America, 35(2): 131–136.Lyles KW, et al. (2007). Zoledronic acid and clinical fractures and mortality after hip fracture. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(18): 1799–1809.Mercier LR (2008). Fractures of the hip section of The hip. In Practical Orthopedics, 6th ed., pp. 207–211. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Last Revised: January 4, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
print close directions