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Hip Fracturel

Definition:
A hip fracture is a break in the thighbone just below the hip joint. The hip joint consists of a ball at the top of the thighbone (femur) and a rounded socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis. Most hip fractures occur in the femur one to two inches below the ball portion of the hip.

Causes:
Factors that may contribute to a hip fracture include:

  • Falls, the most frequent cause of hip fractures
  • Osteoporosis--a bone-thinning disease that weakens all bones including the hip
  • Motor vehicle accidents and other types of major trauma
  • Stress fractures in athletes (rare)
  • Bone diseases such as osteomalacia (rare)
  • Bone tumors (rare)
Risk Factors:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
  • Previous hip fracture or history of falling
  • Age: 65 years or older
  • Sex: Female (especially after menopause)
  • Heredity
    • Family history of fractures later in life
    • Small-boned, slender body (low body weight)
    • Caucasian or Asian race
  • Others:
    • Poor nutrition
    • Deficient intake or absorption of calcium and vitamin
    • Low body weight
    • Physical inactivity
    • Weakness
    • Poor balance and coordination
    • Smoking
    • Excessive alcohol use
    • Chronic disease or fragile health
    • Irregular heart beat or low blood pressure
    • Arthritis
    • Parkinson's disease
    • History of stroke
    • Mental impairments including Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Problems with vision
    • Certain medications which cause dizziness, drowsiness, or weakness
    • Systemic cortisone or other steroids
    • Excess thyroid hormone
Symptoms:
Symptoms may include:
  • Pain in the hip
  • Difficulty or inability to stand, walk or move the hip
  • Abnormal appearance of the broken leg:
    • Looks shorter
    • Turns outward
Diagnosis:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, how the injury occurred, and then will perform a physical exam.

Tests may include:

X-Ray–to determine exactly where the bone is broken and how far out of place the pieces have moved

Bone Scan or MRI Scan–used if the fracture doesn't show up on x-rays but symptoms indicate a fracture has occurred

Treatment:
The goal is to get you back on your feet again as quickly as possible while your broken bone heals.

Treatment includes:

Prompt Emergency Treatment
  • Taking all weight off the injured leg and immobilizing the fracture
  • Checking vital signs such as blood pressure
  • Treating problems such as internal blood loss
  • Pain control with pain killers and other drugs
Surgery
Surgery is performed to set the broken bone and hold it in the correct position. This may involve:
  • Inserting a surgical plate and screws at the fracture site
  • Replacing the hip with a metal implant (prosthesis), which has a ball that fits into the hip socket and an attached stem which goes into the thigh bone to hold the implant in place.
Physical Assistance
  • Exercises or therapy to help you return to your normal level of activity
  • A cane or walker as advised by your doctor
  • Aid with activities of daily living until you can return to normal activity
Prevention:
Early corrective action may help alleviate many of the factors that can lead to a hip fracture. Here's what you can do:
  • Eat a diet with nutrients for strong bones:
    • Calcium–about 1000 milligrams daily, but check with your doctor
    • Vitamin D–400-800 units a day
    • Adequate protein intake
  • Exercise:
    • Ask your doctor before starting.
    • Weight-bearing activities such as walking
    • Strengthening exercises for both upper and lower extremities
  • See your doctor if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Preventive medication may include:
    • Hormone replacement therapy for women after menopause
    • Biphosphonates
    • Calcitonin
  • Ask your provider if any of your medications may contribute to:
    • Bone loss
    • Dizziness, drowsiness, or confusion
  • Reduce falling hazards at work and home:
    • Clean spills and slippery areas immediately.
    • Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs and clutter.
    • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
    • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub.
    • Put in handrails on both sides of stairways.
    • Walk only in well-lighted rooms, stairs, and halls.
    • Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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