Hip Fracture

The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint. The “ball” is the head of the femur or thigh bone, and the “socket” is the cup-shaped acetabulum. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint.

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
Elderly fell

What is a hip fracture?

Hip fracture is a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thigh bone. The thigh bone has two bony processes on the upper part - the greater and lesser trochanters. The lesser trochanter projects from the base of the femoral neck on the back of the thigh bone. Hip fractures can occur either due to a break in the femoral neck, in the area between the greater and lesser trochanter, or below the lesser trochanter.

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.

Your doctor may order an X-ray to diagnose your hip fracture. Other imaging tests, such as a 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

Hip fractures can be corrected and aligned with non-operative and operative methods:

Non-surgical: 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 heavyweights. These heavyweights help in correcting the misaligned bones until the injury heals.

Surgical: Hip fractures can be surgically treated with external fixation, intramedullary fixation, or by using plates and screws.

Don't wait any longer to get relief. Make an appointment to see one of our orthopedic specialists.

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF HIP AND KNEE SURGEONS

This article has been written and peer-reviewed by the AAHKS Patient and Public Relations Committee and the AAHKS Evidence-Based Medicine Committee.