Hip Fracture Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery
Reviewed by Dr. Zackary Byrd
A hip fracture is a break in the upper quarter of your thigh bone. Most hip fractures are either femoral neck fractures or intertrochanteric fractures.
A femoral neck fracture occurs in the area of bone just below the femoral head, known as the ball of the hip joint. An intertrochanteric fracture occurs between the femoral neck and the long straight part of the femur.
If you are experiencing hip pain, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH. Our hip specialists look forward to answering any questions you may have and helping you on the road to recovery!
What Are the Symptoms of a Hip Fracture?
Hip fracture symptoms usually begin suddenly. However, it’s also possible for symptoms to develop and worsen over time. Some of the symptoms of a hip fracture are listed below.
- Pain: You may feel severe pain in the outer hip, groin, pelvis, or thigh.
- Reduced mobility: It’s very likely that you will not be able to stand or walk on the affected leg.
- Visible signs: You may notice a bruise on the outside of your thigh. You may also notice your leg twisted or out of place.
Common Causes of a Hip Fracture
Most hip fractures happen as a result of falls or automobile accidents. Some risk factors for developing a hip fracture include advancing age and osteoarthritis. Hip fractures are more common among the elderly because bones can weaken with age.
Some athletes may suffer from stress fractures in their hips because of the repetitive strain exerted over a long period of time.
How Is a Hip Fracture Diagnosed?
Your orthopedic doctor can diagnose your hip fracture. He will begin by asking you about what caused the trauma and performing a physical exam of the affected area.
In order to know the full extent of your fracture, your doctor may order some imaging tests. The following imaging tests may be used in diagnosing a hip fracture:
- X-rays: These images can reveal any damage that has occurred to your bones.
- MRI: Images are captured of both bone and soft tissue.
- CT scan: These scans create detailed cross-section images of the bone and soft tissue.
How to Treat a Hip Fracture
Hip fracture treatment will depend on the extent of your injury. The following list contains some of the treatment options for a hip fracture:
- Hip surgery: Most hip fractures will need some help to repair the fracture, including hip surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon may use screws, plates, or nails to secure the bones while they heal.
- Hip replacement: A partial or total hip replacement may be necessary if there is significant damage to the hip joint.
- Physical therapy (PT): PT can help strengthen muscles and provide flexibility in recovery after a fracture. If you have had a total hip replacement, then exercises can be given to help with your range of motion.
- Medications: Some pain relief medications may be used to manage the pain and reduce inflammation. You may also be required to take antibiotics if you have had hip replacement surgery.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Hip Fracture?
Many hip fractures will heal within 10 -12 weeks, but our goal is to have you up and mobile as soon as possible, often the same day you have surgery. For the surrounding muscle to regain strength and mobility, you may need as much as 6 months to reach full recovery, and you will reach the maximum amount of benefit after 1 year.
It is essential to start recovery as soon as possible, as most gains are obtained in the early stages of recovery.
How to Prevent a Hip Fracture
Hip fracture prevention includes reducing the possibility of falling and strengthening your body to withstand any potential falls. Some preventative measures you could try to avoid getting a hip fracture are listed below.
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements: These can help strengthen bones.
- Bisphosphonates: Medication that can help reduce bone loss.
- Regular physical activity: Staying active can help strengthen muscles and prevent bone loss.
- Prevent accidents: Remove trip hazards and take extra precautions in slippery conditions.
- Update your eyeglasses: If you have difficulties seeing, this can increase your chance of falling. Make sure that your prescription is up to date.
Address Your Hip Pain Today!
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your hips, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH. Our hip specialists can help you address your pain issues and implement a treatment plan to get you back to doing what you love!