Hip Fracture

hip - south florida orthoA hip fracture is the result of a break or crack at the top of the femur (thighbone) or pelvis. Fractures occur more frequently in elderly patients as a result of weakened bones or osteoporosis.

Hip fractures are typically treated with some form of surgery, dependent on the severity of the fracture. Most forms of surgery will require the use of hardware, such as screws or plates, to stabilize the damaged hip. Your surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will determine if a total hip replacement is necessary.

A majority of patients report improved mobility and a vast reduction in pain following treatment for a hip fracture.

What is a Hip Fracture?

Hip fractures typically occur in elderly patients and are caused by trauma to the hip from a fall or similar injury. As bones age and weaken, hip fractures become increasingly likely. According to Mayo Clinic, 70 percent of hip fractures occur in women as they lose bone density at a quicker pace than men.

A hip fracture is a crack or break in the femur or pelvic bone. The top or ball of the femur is particularly susceptible to fractures as it is responsible for hip mobility. Although less likely, cracks in the pelvic bone may also occur. Since the pelvis is home to the hip socket, weakened bones can leave the hip socket more vulnerable to damage. A hip fractures is increasingly likely in patients with arthritis or osteoporosis as their bones are already in a weakened state.

There are three types of hip fractures:

  • Intracapsular Fracture: fracture of the neck and head of the femur (thighbone).
  • Intertrochanteric Fracture: fracture between the femur neck and lesser trochanter (inner hip bone). The lesser trochanter is a key point of attachment for major muscles in the hip.
  • Subtrochanteric Fracture: fracture below the lesser trochanter (inner hip hone).

In nearly all cases of hip fractures, surgery is required. However, your surgeon may recommend conservative treatment methods for less severe fractures and for patients who are unable to undergo anesthesia for the procedure. The symptoms associated with a hip fracture include immobility, stiffness, bruising, rotation of the injured leg, and hip swelling immediately following the injury or fall.

Treatment for a Hip Fracture

For all types of hip fractures, your surgeon will use some form of hardware to stabilize the hip and allow the bone to mend. In some cases, a total hip replacement is required to correct the damage from the fracture.

There are three main surgical options to fix a hip fracture:

  • Internal Repair: An internal repair can be performed several different ways depending on the location and severity of the fracture. Internal repair will always include the use of hardware, such as screws and plates, to hold the bone together during the healing process. This type of surgery requires an incision at the hip to allow access to the femur. Your surgeon will then realign or reduce the femur to ensure it is in the best position for healing and hardware will be inserted to stabilize the bone.
  • Partial Hip Replacement: When the fracture occurs, the ends of the broken bones may be damaged or displaced. In this case, your surgeon will recommend a partial hip replacement. With an incision in the hip, your surgeon will remove segments of the head and neck of the femur and insert metal hardware in their place. A partial hip replacement is more invasive, but will require less recovery time than a total hip replacement.
  • Total Hip Replacement: If you have suffer from arthritis or have previously experienced a hip injury, a total knee replacement may be necessary. Your surgeon will make an incision in the hip, remove the entire upper femur and the hip socket in the pelvis, and replace them with metal and plastic hardware. Click here to learn more about total hip replacements at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

Hip Fracture Recovery

Following treatment for a hip fracture, you can begin applying weight with the use of crutches or a walker. Treatment plans for a hip fracture are highly individualized based on your medical history and the severity of the fracture. Physical therapy will become an integral part of recovery to rebuild strength and mobility in the hip. In most cases, it will take six to eight weeks for a hip fracture to heal and two to four months for a full recovery. Talk to your doctor about treatment and prevention of hip fractures.

ACL Repair Surgery Results

Recovery times may vary based on the surgery and it may take up to nine months before a patient can return to activities such as jogging, tennis, golf.” According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, in more than 90 percent of patients ACL surgery is successful and allows patients to return to sports and workplace activities without suffering from knee instability.


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