What is a hip fracture?
A hip fracture is more
than a broken bone. If you are older, breaking your hip can mean a major change
in your life. You will likely need surgery, and it can take as long as a year
to recover. Activity and
physical therapy can help you get your strength and
mobility back. You are likely to need support from family or a caregiver as you
Most hip fractures happen to people who are 65 or older.
If you are in this age group, you need to be extra careful to avoid falls. Most
people break their hip near the upper part of the
thighbone (femur) . It usually happens near where the thighbone fits into the hip
What causes hip fractures?
Falls cause most hip
fractures in older adults. As you get older, your bones naturally lose some
strength and are more likely to break, even from a minor fall. Children and
young adults are more likely to break a hip because of a bike or car accident
or a sports injury.
Other things that increase your risk of
breaking your hip include:
- Being female.
- Your family
history-being thin or tall or having family members who had fractures later in
- Poor eating habits. Not getting enough calcium and
vitamin D can weaken bones.
- Not being
active. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, can help keep bones
- Medical conditions that cause
dizziness or problems with balance, or conditions such as arthritis that can
interfere with steady and safe movement.
- Taking certain
medicines that may lead to bone loss.
What are the symptoms?
It is hard to miss the
symptoms of a hip fracture. You will most likely have severe pain in your hip
or lower groin area. You probably will not be able to walk or put any weight on
These symptoms would be most likely after a fall. But
if you have very thin bones from osteoporosis or another problem, you could
break your hip without falling. In rare cases, people have only thigh or knee
pain. They may be able to walk.
How is a hip fracture diagnosed?
X-rays to diagnose a broken hip. If your doctor thinks
that you have a fracture but cannot see it on an X-ray, you may need an
CT scan, or a
How is it treated?
You will probably need surgery
to fix your hip. Surgery usually works well, but you will need to be patient.
Getting better will probably take a long time. And you may never be able to get
around as well as you could before.
The type of surgery you have
will depend on where the break is and how bad it is. Your doctor may put metal
screws, a metal plate, or a rod in your hip to fix the break. Or you may need
to have all or part of your hip replaced.