A hip fracture, regardless of the person’s age, is a serious thing and should be treated as such. In order to prevent, or get proper and timely care in the case of a hip fracture, there are a few things that are important to know.
What is a hip fracture, exactly?
A hip fracture refers to a break in the upper femur (thigh bone) in one of three places. It will break either in the head (the ball that fits into the pelvic socket), the neck (the horizontal piece of bone at the top of the femur), or between or below the greater and lesser trochanters (two bony humps that protrude along the outside edge of the femur).
What are the most common causes?
Falls and trauma. Folks who suffer from osteoporosis are especially apt to suffer a broken hip due to a fall, and trauma such as a car accident is also a common cause.
What are the 3 types of fractures?
Nondisplaced (the bone is broken but has not moved), minimally displaced (the bone has shifted slightly at the break), and displaced (part of the bone has become completely displaced).
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can range from almost none in the case of someone who’s bedridden (rarely), to severe in the case of an active person and can be obvious from visible signs such as bruising and swelling to physical such as difficulty moving and extreme pain.
How can they be prevented?
Basically, there are two ways; keep bones healthy and prevent falls. Vitamin supplements and bone mineral density tests are important, as is improving home safety by installing such things as grab bars and non-slip rug liners.
Knowing the causes and signs are important, because a fracture can be made worse by walking or even simply standing on it. Once the fracture has been diagnosed, the treatment will depend on the severity and type of fracture, and recovery time will depend on the treatment and physical ability of the patient. Treatment can range from surgically resetting the bone with screws and pins, to a hip replacement. In the case of resetting the bone, the patient should try to be up and walking with the assistance of a walker, as soon as possible. A hip replacement may take up to 12 weeks to heal. Prevention is probably the most important thing here, because hip fractures can drastically affect quality of life, are a major source of disability, and may lead to life-threatening conditions such as blood clots in the legs.
Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer