Hip Fractures PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 08:13



A fracture is defined as a break in a bone. For hip fractures, these usually refer to fractures of the uppermost part of the femur (or thigh bone). The femoral neck fracture and the intertrochanteric fracture (both located on the uppermost part of the thigh bone) are examples of conditions frequently labeled as “hip fractures”.

Although commonly seen in elderly individuals with osteoporosis who fall and break their hip bones, these fractures also occur in younger individuals after a high-energy injury, such as a motorcycle accident.

Signs and Symptoms:

There is pain located in the groin and/or buttock area and the injured person is unable to stand. The injured extremity will appear shorter and will usually be turned outwards so that the foot rests on its side. Any attempt to stand, walk, or move the hip results in severe pain.

However, for incomplete fractures (that is, the crack did not go through the entire bone), patients may be able to stand or take a few steps despite the presence of pain. The extremity might appear to be normal in length. This is a dangerous situation since the risk of completing the fracture becomes very great.

Radiographic Examination:

X-rays of the pelvis that show both hips will be enough to make a diagnosis of a hip fracture. If the x-rays appear normal but the suspicion is great that a fracture is present, a bone scan or an MRI may be requested to search for the incomplete fracture.


hip replacement

These fractures are treated surgically. For the femoral neck fracture, multiple screws or a hip replacement may be required. For intertrochanteric fractures, the use of a metallic internal fixation device is needed.

Nonoperative treatment is an option if the risks of surgery are too great. However, there are also risks associated with this form of treatment, such as blood clots, bedsores, depression, and a decrease in independent mobility.


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