Hip Fracture

Hip fractures are one of the most common kinds of injury and can occur at any age – though they tend to happen in older adults much more due to weakened bones. The upper portion of the femur (thighbone) breaks in a hip fracture. Hip fractures affect more than 300,000 United States citizens each year. These injuries are a common occurrence among those aged 65 and older. The common ways they sustain these fractures are from falls.

We will comprehensively cover hip fracture symptoms, hip fracture types and hip fracture treatments. This guide will provide information that will be useful to anyone struggling with a hip fracture.

Contact Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine to make an appointment with one of our doctors if you have a hip injury. Hip fractures and other muscular and skeletal medical problems can be diagnosed and treated by our team of highly qualified medical professionals.

Symptoms Of A Hip Fracture

The most common symptoms of a hip fracture are provided below in detail. 

  • Pain with motion or weight bearing after a fall
  • Individuals who suffer from hip fractures may experience discomfort in their lower back
  • You may be unable to walk or stand if you have a hip fracture
  • People also notice their feet turned at an odd angle due to a hip fracture
  • Bruising or swelling near the fractured region is extremely common

Types of Hip Fractures

In this section, we’ll discuss in great detail the two types of hip fractures:

  • Femoral Neck Fracture – Femoral neck fractures tend to affect older adults and can be linked to osteoporosis. They happen in the bone just below the ball – of the ball in the socket. These may be fixed if simple and stable but often require replacement.  
  • Intertrochanteric Hip Fracture – A break in the femur where it makes a turn from the long thigh bone to the hip, known as an intertrochanteric fracture. These are successfully treated with fixation and rarely need replacement. 

Most hip fractures may be classified into these two distinct categories. Diagnosing a stress fracture (third type) can prove more difficult. A stress fracture presents as a fissure in the femur bone and is usually caused by repetitive motion or excessive use. Symptoms for this type of injury are largely similar to tendonitis or muscle strain, making recognition hard to come by.

Hip Fracture – Risk Factors

  • The leading cause of hip fracture is osteoporosis.
  • Individuals with a disability or unsteady gait are more prone to hip fractures.
  • Anyone who does not exercise regularly has the chance of developing this condition.
  • Those who are tall and slender stand at a greater risk of sustaining hip injuries, such as fractures.
  • Consumption of alcohol or caffeine excessively and cigarette smoking can lead to various medical problems, including a hip fracture.
  • Those suffering from vision problems and dementia are an at-risk group for hip fractures.
  • Individuals taking medications that cause bone loss are more likely to sustain such medical problems.

Hip Fracture Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a hip fracture is made in the following ways:

  • X-ray – Doctors usually say that an X-ray is the best way to find out if you fractured or broke your hip. This quick, painless procedure generates images of internal body structures – particularly your bones – through radiation safely emitted and captured onto a specialized plate. Patients do not feel anything during an X-ray.
  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT Scan) – A CT scan will provide you and your doctor with a comprehensive, three-dimensional image of your hip. Your healthcare provider may order this scan for more information about your fracture.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – An MRI scan offers precise pictures of muscular tissue and bone. Due to its superior sensitivity, an MRI may detect a minor or incomplete fracture that would otherwise not appear on an X-ray.

Hip Fracture Prevention

Let’s take a look at some of the preventive steps you can take to avoid suffering the dire consequences of a hip fracture:

  • Regularly consuming calcium-rich food items such as milk, sardines, cottage cheese, etc.
  • Reducing or completely avoiding smoking is a great step to avoid numerous medical problems.
  • Like smoking, decreasing or avoiding the consumption of alcohol will substantially reduce the chances of a hip fracture.
  • Safeguard your bathroom with slip-resistant rugs and grab bars for optimal protection in the bathtub.
  • Eliminating cords and other objects from the stairs and floors will help avoid potentially hazardous slips or falls.
  • Illuminate your way from the bedroom to the bathroom with strategically placed night lights for easy navigation in low lighting.
  • Use a rug pad as extra protection to keep your rugs firmly in place or remove area rugs.
  • Refrain from standing on furniture or step ladders that are not stable.
  • Visiting an Orthopedic Surgeon each year to ensure your skeletal and muscular systems are in top condition.

Hip Fracture Treatment

Most hip fractures necessitate surgery within 48 hours, except for a few non-displaced fractures in healthy patients. However, some individuals may be too weak to undergo this medical procedure safely.

To ease the acute pain associated with a fracture and prevent further complications, you should undergo surgical treatment swiftly. Doing so allows you to be up on your feet in less time and without any issues that may arise from delaying such medical care.

The journey of readying a patient for surgery is known as optimization and it should ideally be accomplished in 48 hours or less. Though this timeline might only sometimes be feasible due to circumstances, undergoing the optimization process still trumps rushing into medical procedures prematurely.

The best course of action must be decided based on the type, position and severity of the hip fracture, as well as the patient’s age and medical background.

Treatment For Femoral Neck Fracture

Also known as a sub-capital or intracapsular fracture. There are two ways in which this kind of hip fracture is treated: 

  • Not Displaced Femoral Neck – In-situ pinning is the standard treatment option for a femoral neck fracture that has yet to become displaced. During this surgery, screws or pins are placed across the injury site to secure the ball of the femur as it heals. Newer treatments with plutes may be deemed more appropriate.

  • Displaced Femoral Neck – Elderly patients suffering from displaced fractures of the femoral neck are typically advised to undergo a hemiarthroplasty or partial hip replacement; however, certain individuals may experience greater functionality with total hip replacement despite an increased risk of complications. Total hip replacement is also highly recommended for younger and more active patients.

Treatment For Intertrochanteric Hip Fracture

Intertrochanteric fractures occur in the area positioned below the femoral neck, between both greater and lesser trochanters. Fortunately, two viable treatment forms are available: a sliding compression hip screw combined with a side plate or an intramedullary nail.

  • Treatment With A Compression Screw & Side Plate – The outer side of the bone is secured by a compression hip screw, allowing impaction and compression to take place at the fracture site, drastically increasing stability and aiding in recovery. A lag screw is placed through the plate into the femoral head and neck for additional reinforcement. Older, rarely indicated in today’s algorithm.

  • Treatment With A Intramedullary Nail – To stabilize the femoral head, an intramedullary nail is inserted directly into the marrow canal of the bone through drilling on top of the greater trochanter. Subsequently, one or more screws are drilled through this insertion and fastened tightly to secure it. Newer and more current.  

To schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, call Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine at 941.378.5100. Our team of experienced medical specialists treats fractured hips, spine injuries and sports-related injuries.