What is Hip Fracture?
The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint. The “ball” is the head of the femur, or thighbone, and the “socket” is the cup shaped acetabulum formed by the pelvic bones. The bones in the joint are covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain free movement of the joint.
Hip fracture is a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thighbone. The thighbone has two bony processes on the upper part - the greater and lesser trochanters. Hip fractures usually occur in the area between the greater and lesser trochanter or below the lesser trochanter.
Causes of Hip Fractures
Hip fracture is most frequently caused after minor trauma in elderly patients with weak bones, and by a high-energy trauma or serious injuries in young people. Long term use of certain medicines, such as bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis (a disease-causing weak bones) and other bone diseases, increases the risk of hip fractures.
Signs and Symptoms of Hip Fractures
The signs and symptoms of hip fracture include:
- Pain in the groin or outer upper thigh
- Swelling and tenderness
- Discomfort while rotating the hip
- Shortening of the injured leg
- Outward or inward turning of the foot and knee of the injured leg
Diagnosis of Hip Fractures
Dr Yousuf will perform and physical examination and order an X-ray to diagnose your hip fracture. Other imaging tests, such as the magnetic resonance imaging or (MRI), may also be performed to detect the fracture.
Depending on the area of the upper femur involved, hip fractures are classified as:
- Intracapsular fracture
- Intertrochanteric fracture
- Subtrochanteric fracture
Treatments for Hip Fractures
Hip fractures can be corrected and aligned with non-operative and operative methods:
Traction may be an option to treat your condition if you are not fit for surgery. Skeletal traction may be applied under local anesthesia, where screws, pins and wires are inserted into the femur, and a pulley system is set up at the end of the bed to bear heavy weights. These heavy weights help in correcting the misaligned bones until the injury heals.
Hip fractures can be surgically treated with external fixation, intramedullary fixation, or by using plates and screws. Your doctor may recommend a total or partial hip replacement if the injury has compromised blood supply to the hip. This is usually the case for older individuals with hip fractures. Studies show that total hip replacement has good long-term outcomes. An anterior approach to hip replacement may be recommended as it involves less tissue damage and allows you to return to your activities sooner.