Hip fractures can occur as a result of age or injury. More common in older patients, they are extremely painful and require immediate attention.

Hip Fracture

Orthopaedics Infoline

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What is a hip fracture?

A hip fracture is a serious injury that usually requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation. It can affect different parts of the thighbone, with the femoral neck at the top being the most common place. Hip fractures can be extremely painful with patients left unable to move and suffering from significant bruising. 

Most fractures occur in older patients as a result of a fall, but they can also spontaneously break as a result of bones that have weakened through osteoporosis. Our bones naturally weaken as we age, and the risk of falling increases as we get older and experience weakened muscles and poor balance. In younger patients, a fracture generally occurs through trauma such as an accident or a high impact fall. Poor lifestyle choices can also contribute to the likelihood of a fracture. Smoking, excessive alcohol, dietary choices and a lack of exercise are all linked to weakened bones which heightens the risk of a fracture. 

How is it treated?

Most cases are treated with surgery such as a hip repair which involves pinning the bones back together. In more severe cases, a partial hip replacement or a total hip replacement may be recommended, replacing some or all of the natural joint with artificial parts. For the more at-risk groups such as post-menopausal women and patients suffering from osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, prevention is the primary focus. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking or excessive drinking and taking part in regular exercise are all essential factors in protecting your bones. 

How long does it last?

The recovery time for a hip fracture will very much depend on your age and overall health going into the operation. Physiotherapy will begin immediately after surgery and the sooner you are up and about, the quicker your recovery will be. The fracture will take up to 12 weeks to heal, but a full recovery will take up to one year.

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