The most common hip fracture occurs in the upper part of the femur (thigh). Fractures can also happen to other bones that make up the hip joint. The most common cause of hip fractures is a fall in older patients. As we age, the bones decrease in strength, and a fall can cause much more significant injury as we age.
Hip fractures can also occur during high-impact collisions, such as sporting events or car accidents. The hip is essential to all lower body movements, so they can be difficult to recover from. Depending on the location of the fracture, it may be possible to repair the bone, while at other times, a total joint replacement may be required.
- Pain in the groin and upper thigh
- Pain with walking and standing
- Decreased hip strength
- Decreased hip mobility, especially flexion and internal rotation
X-rays are used to diagnose a hip fracture and determine the extent of damage to the bone. An MRI may also be needed to see if there is any damage to the surrounding ligaments and tendons.
Most hip fractures require surgical intervention to heal properly. Depending on the location and size of the fracture, surgery may involve pinning the bone together or replacing the hip joint entirely. It is essential to care for these fractures right away because of the close relationship between the femur and the blood supply to the leg. After surgery, physical therapy will be necessary to regain strength, mobility, and functional use of the hip.