Hip Fractures May Be More Serious Than You Think

Hip fractures can happen to almost anyone, but the elderly are more prone to hip injuries than younger people are. Regardless of the age of the person with hip fractures, they can be very serious, but more so with the elderly. Complications of hip fractures can be very serious, even life threatening. When you get older, your bones lose many of the important minerals and become brittle, making them susceptible to hip fractures. Because women lose bone density quicker than men do, this makes them more susceptible than men. Most of the people who are hospitalized because of hip fractures are elderly.

Surgery is often used as a method of treatment for hip fractures and is usually quite effective. Most people with otherwise good health make a full recovery, but the process does take time.

Some factors that may increase your chances of getting a hip fracture. Some of these are heredity, chronic medical conditions, age, poor nutrition, alcohol and tobacco use, sex (women are more susceptible than men are), medications and hazards around your environment.

There are different symptoms of hip fractures. One is severe pain in the groin or hip area. Being unable to put pressure or weight on the side of the leg or hip that’s injured is another. You may experience bruising, swelling and stiffness near or in the hip area. The leg on the injured side may stick out and/or the leg on the side of the sore hip is shorter. When younger individuals get hip fractures, it is usually from a car accident or sports injury, whereas older adults will usually get their hip fractures from weak bones, falling or some other traumatic event.

A doctor will usually be able to diagnose a hip fracture from an X-ray, your symptoms and the position of your leg and hip, which will usually be abnormal. Most hip fractures will happen in one of two locations in the femur, which is the long bone that runs from your pelvis to your knee. One location is the upper part of the femur right below its head. This is known as the femoral neck and is this part is the ball the ball-and-socket joint in the hip. The other location is the intertrochanteric region, which is the part of the upper femur that sticks outward.

Treatment for hip fractures depends on the location of the fracture. For femoral neck fractures, surgery is usually recommended where a metal screw is put into the bone to hold it together until it can properly heal. Replacement of the femur parts with a metal prosthesis is another method. Total hip replacement is another method, which is used if function may be poor in the future due to a prior injury or arthritis. For intertrochanteric fractures, treatment is insertion of a metal screw into the plate of the femur.