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The Basics of a Hip Fracture

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 250,000 adults age 65 and older are hospitalized each year for hip fractures.

What exactly is a hip fracture? Commonly referred to as a broken hip, this injury occurs when there is a break in the upper portion of your thighbone, otherwise known as the femur.

Sustaining a hip fracture is a very serious injury, especially for the elderly. What’s more, as a person ages, their bones weaken (osteoporosis) which puts them at a higher risk for a hip fracture.

There are various risk factors that can increase a person’s risk of suffering a hip fracture, including:

  • Age – As previously mentioned, adults 65 years and older are at a higher risk for hip fractures. In addition to bone weakness, older adults also suffer from vision and balance problems, which can increase their likelihood of falling – a common contributing factor to hip fractures.
  • Gender – Women are more likely to sustain hip fractures because of their susceptibility to osteoporosis.
  • Inadequate nutrition – Maintaining proper bone health can help keep a hip fracture at bay. Nutrients such as calcium, protein and vitamin D are some of the more important building blocks that promote bone strength. Lack of these nutrients and malnourishment can put your loved one at a higher risk of breaking a hip.

A fractured hip can happen as a result of:

  • Falling on a hard surface from a standing height
  • Forceful trauma to the hip (i.e., car accident)
  • Obesity, which can lead to large amounts of pressure on the hip joint
  • Osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bone strength

The symptoms of a hip fracture include:

  • Bruising, stiffness and swelling in the hip
  • Pain in the hip and groin area
  • Inabilityto put weight on or walk on the affected hip and leg
  • The injured leg appears to be shorter

If your loved one has suffered a hip fracture, surgical repair or replacement is almost always required. The surgery is then followed by physical therapy.

Check back in the coming weeks to learn more about the recovery and treatment options for a hip fracture.

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