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Hip Fractures: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

A fracture refers to a partial or complete break in the bone. It can occur in any of the bones in the body, such as the ones located at the hips. According to statistics, hip fractures are fairly common in the US, occurring in almost 300,000 people yearly. However, most people who fracture their hip are 65 years and older due to age-related changes in the hip bones.

A hip fracture is a serious injury that causes severe pain and life-threatening complications. It requires prompt medical intervention or surgical treatment to preserve the hip as much as possible.

What are the four types of hip fractures?

A fracture in the hip usually happens at the topmost part of the femur (the long bones in the thigh). There are four types of hip fractures based on the specific area of the injury:

  • Femoral neck

-the femoral neck is located below the femoral head (ball) and connects it to the femoral shaft. This type of fracture increases the risk for complications since the injury affects the blood supply in the area.

  • Intertrochanteric area

-located directly below the femoral head and about 3 to 4 inches from the hip joint. This fracture is easier to repair and does not disrupt the healthy blood supply in the pelvic area.

  • Subtrochanteric area

-located along the femur shaft, directly below the intertrochanteric area.

  • Femoral head

-a break in the femur's head, which sits right at the acetabulum or socket.

Most hip fractures occur in the femoral neck and intertrochanteric area. However, femoral neck fractures are more common in seniors aged 80 to 90 years old than young adults due to overuse and osteoporosis.

What are the main causes of a hip fracture?

There are a lot of factors that can increase one's risk of sustaining a fractured hip. This includes age, gender, lifestyle, medications, and underlying medical conditions.

Most hip fractures happen as a result of a high-impact accident for young adults, such as car collisions, contact sports accidents, or overuse in athletes.

In seniors, hip fractures may occur due to low-energy falls, slips, trips, and sudden movements. Aging women are the primary victim of hip fractures due to age and menopausal-related bone changes.

What are the symptoms of a hip fracture?

Typically, orthopedic specialists can easily diagnose a hip fracture because of its evident symptoms. More often than not, patients with a fractured hip will suddenly experience the following:

  • Moderate to severe pain in the hip or groin area. Usually, it will occur suddenly, right after the fall or accident.

  • Severe mobility problem. In most cases, you won't be able to move nor bear any weight on the upper portion of the affected leg; doing so will be extremely painful.

  • Bruising on the affected hip

  • Deformity on the affected hip. The fractured hip may look twisted or rotated.

In some cases where there's only a hairline fracture, the symptoms may not be as severe at first. Initially, you may feel mild pain and limited mobility, which can gradually build up into a more severe status.

Orthopedic doctors diagnose hip fractures through a physical examination and symptom correlation. They may also order different imaging tests to check the severity and extent of the injury. This may include an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

How to treat a fractured hip?

Non-invasive treatment options are only possible for healthy individuals with rare cases of non-displaced fractures. However, most patients will require surgical operation within one to two days of the injury. Prompt surgical intervention will prevent further complications and may result in a quick recovery.

There are a variety of surgical techniques used to treat hip fractures. The type of surgery that will be performed will depend on the patient's age, type of fracture, and severity. Some examples of hip surgeries include:

  • Hip repair surgery or hip pinning

-this involves placing metal screws, pins, and rods in the injured bone and joint to hold it together and help it heal correctly. The process is also known as internal fixation.

  • Partial hip replacement or hemiarthroplasty

- replacing the damaged femoral head with a prosthetic one, provided that the hip socket remains intact or uninjured.

  • Total or complete hip replacement

-a procedure wherein both the femoral head and hip socket are replaced with artificial joints.

After the surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation should start as soon as possible. A physical therapist will work with you to help you achieve optimal hip function and movement.

Hip Fractures

Where to find orthopedic sports medicine near me?

Our team of board-certified orthopedic doctors at Pinnacle Orthopaedics specializes in treating various orthopedic conditions, such as a hip fracture. Our leading hip doctor, Dr. Jessica C. Billota, performs advanced surgical techniques to help patients regain their functionality, independence, and quality of life.

Learn more about joint replacement or hip arthroscopy surgery by contacting us at 770-427-5717. You can also visit us today in one of our office locations conveniently located near you:

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.