Broken Hip

Every year more than 300,000 American seniors aged 65 and older are hospitalized for hip fractures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually sideways. Hip fractures are devastating for the elderly community because even after the injuries heal, the link between mobility and confidence in the senior may be destroyed.

Symptoms of a Broken Hip

If you or your senior has experienced a fall, here are the signs that will tell you if you have a broken hip:

  • Inability to move immediately after a fall
  • Severe pain in your hip or groin area
  • Inability to support weight on the leg of the injured side
  • Stiffness, bruising, and swelling in hip area
  • Shorter leg on side of injured hip

What Are the Causes of a Broken Hip?

While a vast majority of hip fractures in the elderly occur from falling, there are other ways that your senior may find himself or herself with a hip fracture. Some of the causes of broken hips are:

  • Falls
  • Blunt trauma to the hip
  • Diseases like osteoporosis, which leads to a loss of bone tissue
  • Obesity, which can put too much pressure on the hip bones

How Are Broken Hips Diagnosed?

Your doctor may see the bruising or swelling around your hip and think that you have a broken hip, but to make an accurate broken hip diagnosis, they may order some of the following imaging tests:

  • X-ray – this method may not reveal any fractures
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – can show many detailed images of the hip area
  • Computerized tomography (CT) Scan – can show images of your hip bone and surrounding muscles, tissues, and fat

Broken Hip Treatments

When considering treatment options for a broken hip, your doctor should take your age and physical condition into consideration. Depending on other medical conditions you may have, your treatment may vary.

  • Medication may be prescribed to help reduce pain
  • Surgery is one of the most common treatments and will involve repairing or replacing your hip
  • Physical therapy will help you recover faster from surgeries

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does osteoporosis play a role in hip injuries?

Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone density and this means your bones, including your hips, can become extra fragile. Those with osteoporosis have a higher chance of injuries resulting in broken bones. Those with osteoporosis can break or fracture bones just by sneezing in some severe cases. If you are at risk of developing osteoporosis, contact your doctor to discuss which treatment options might be most appropriate for you. 

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What's the average recovery time for hip surgery?

This will depend on your overall health and how involved you are with your rehabilitation and healing process. Immediately after the surgery, you or your loved one will stay three to four days overnight. During your recovery time, you will participate in physical therapy for your broken hip, and will also want to continue to rehab your hip with exercises at home. Eventually, within a month you should be able to walk with the help of crutches or a walker. A few months after that, you should be able to walk on your own.

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