Causes and Risk Factors of Broken Hips

Jul 12, 2016

Causes and Risk Factors of Broken Hips

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 Hip fractures are serious injuries, and every year, over 300,000 American seniors are hospitalized for hip fractures. Over 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually sideways. As adults continue to get older, their risk for falls will increase.

Risk Factors for Hip Fractures

To start, people over age 60 are already at risk for osteoporosis, which also means breaking a hip is much more likely. As we start to age, the strength and density of our bones may begin to deteriorate, especially if you aren’t getting enough calories or nutrients from your diet. Getting adequate doses of calcium and vitamin D can be ways to feed your bones the right substances needed to keep them healthy.

Interestingly enough, Asian and Caucasian people have a higher risk of osteoporosis and hip injuries. Per reported incidence, Scandinavia has the highest number of hip fractures in the world. Additionally, 75% of all hip fractures occur in women over 50, with 25% occurring in men of the same age group.

Causes of Broken Hips

For people who have already suffered a broken hip, sustaining another fracture is more likely. A large number of cases are a result of:

  • Falls to a hard surface or from a significant height
  • Blunt trauma, such as car crashes or other impacts
  • Obesity leading to excessive pressure on the skeleton
  • Osteoporosis-related difficulties
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Twisting of legs while standing

Preventing Hip Fractures

Accidents certainly happen, but preventing falls should be a focus in a home with seniors. Visit your doctor and have them evaluate your risk for falling. They will be able to analyze your daily activities along with any medication side effects that could be affecting your vision or balance. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications. You should also talk to your doctor about bone health and if you could benefit from Vitamin D supplements.

You should also make sure that your home is safe. Pay extra attention to the bathroom areas since preventing falls in a wet environment can be problematic. 

If your senior has already experienced a fall, they may have lost confidence in their mobility. This can make them scared to be mobile, leading to more dependence and avoidance of physical activity. Encourage your senior to exercise to keep their bones and muscles healthy and strong, which will help prevent future falls.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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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