A hip fracture occurs when the femur (thigh bone) breaks partially or completely from where it joins the pelvic bone. It’s a critical injury that has to be treated right away. Hip fractures in young people are most commonly caused by car accidents, long falls, or other serious traumas. Overuse and repetitive motion can potentially cause a hairline break termed a stress fracture.
A hip fracture almost invariably necessitates surgery, which is followed by physical rehabilitation.
What are the causes of hip fracture?
A fall or an automobile accident are the most common causes of hip fractures. With repeated use of the joints, athletes, particularly long-distance runners, can fracture their hip (stress fracture).
Hip fractures in the elderly might occur as a result of a slight fall or a quick twisting or pivoting. People who have osteoporosis can shatter their hips performing simple things like walking or getting out of a chair.
What parts of the hip are most prone to fractures?
The curving hip socket (acetabulum) and the upper section of the thighbone (femur) make up the pelvis. The hip joint is formed by the round top of the femur (the “ball,” or femoral head) fitting into the hip socket. The joint is supported by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues.
Hip fractures can happen in a variety of places on the upper femur. The following are the most prevalent types of hip fractures:
– The neck is the region of bone immediately below the femoral head that can be fractured.
– The intertrochanteric area of the femur is the portion of the femur that is between the femoral neck and the long, straight segment of the femur.
What are the symptoms of hip fracture?
Hip fracture symptoms usually appear without any prior symptoms. However, in some cases, the symptoms may arise gradually. Hip fracture symptoms include:
– Hip pain: The hip pain that originates is typically acute and intense. It can, however, be moderate or achy. The most common areas of pain are the thigh, outer hip, pelvic, and groin. The pain may travel down to the buttocks and into the leg (sciatica). One may also experience knee pain.
– Physical changes: Most individuals having a hip fracture are unable to stand or walk. Walking is sometimes possible, but putting weight on the leg is exceedingly painful.
– Physical changes: There might be a visible bruise on the hip. It’s possible that one of the legs is shorter in length compared to the other.
Risk factors for hip fractures
– Age: People above the age of 65 are more prone to hip fractures as bones deteriorate or weaken, and become brittle as they age. The elderly are more prone to have movement and balance issues, which are responsible for falling.
– Gender: Older women account for over 75 percent of hip fractures. After menopause, women lose bone mass. Bones that are weak are much more prone to fracture.
– Lifestyle: Sedentary people (those who do not do enough exercise) are much more prone to fracturing their hips. Overconsumption of alcohol also weakens the bones and raises the risk of fracture.
– Drugs: Some medications make one more likely to fall. One may also lose their sense of maintaining balance if they take drugs that produce sleepiness or a reduction in blood pressure.
– Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become porous and fragile, hence increasing the risk of breakage. Women are 4 times more likely than males to develop osteoporosis.
– General health: People who don’t get enough vitamin D, calcium, or other nutrients are more likely to fracture. Dementia and Parkinson’s disease, for example, increase the likelihood of falling.
Method of diagnosis
The doctor will inspect the region and inquire about any recent falls or mishaps. The physician may also do a physical examination to check for any loss of sensation due to nerve injury (neuropathy).
Imaging investigations are also prescribed by the doctor to identify a fracture and assess any soft tissue damage. Some examples of imaging examinations are:
– X-ray: It produces images of the bones using radiation.
– MRI: It stands for magnetic resonance imaging, which employs a powerful magnet to make images of the bones and soft tissues.
– CT Scan: A CT scan is a procedure that involves the use of a computer and multiple X-rays to provide the doctor with comprehensive pictures of the site of the injury
Method of treatment of hip fractures
Treatment for hip fractures is determined by age, overall health, and type of injury. The majority of hip fractures necessitate surgery within a few days of the incident. However, sometimes due to age or medical conditions, surgery is not possible.
– Surgery is required for the majority of hip fractures. Hip surgery can be done in numerous ways. Metal screws, nails, or plates may be used to secure and maintain the bones in place.
– Hip replacement: A full or partial hip replacement may be required depending on what type of injury the person has. The doctor may also recommend rehabilitation after a hip replacement to improve the range of motion
– Physical Therapy: The physical therapist will design a PT program to help one restore their movement, flexibility, and strength. If one had a hip replacement, they can enhance their range of motion by doing certain exercises afterward.
– Medications: Pain relievers, both over-the-counter and prescription, can help one manage pain and inflammation. Antibiotics may be given after hip fracture surgery to lessen the risk of infection.
Method of prevention
– Active lifestyle: Being physically active improves muscle strength and prevents bone loss. Strength and balance are improved through swimming, tai chi, and weight-bearing workouts.
– Proper nutrition: Vitamin D and calcium-rich foods can help to build strong bones which can withstand impacts.
– Getting regular medical exams: Ask the doctor about bone density testing that can detect osteoporosis symptoms. Bisphosphonate drugs, which prevent bone loss and build bones, may be recommended by the doctor.
– Accident prevention: Remove any risks at home that could cause a fall (such as throwing rugs). When utilizing the stairs or walking in ice weather, exercise caution. If one has Parkinson’s disease, it’s recommended to consult a doctor about ways to stay balanced and avoid falling.
– Maintaining good health: Maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, and limit alcohol consumption.
– Have proper eyecare: Vision difficulties can make one more vulnerable to falling. Regular eye exams help scan for irregularities in vision. People with weak eyesight should make sure that contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions are up to date.