Understanding When Surgery is Right – Hip Fractures

Healthy hips are essential to human movement, so breaking or fracturing your hip is an extremely serious injury.


Hip Fracture Basics. Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint made up of the head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (the “socket” part of the joint located in the pelvis). Any break to the upper quarter of the femur is considered a hip fracture. They are often caused by a fall or direct impact to the bone.


When to Choose Surgery. While many bone fractures must be assessed to see if surgery is necessary, in almost all cases hip fractures should be surgically corrected. If a hip fracture is left untreated, a person won’t be able to walk or even sit up by themselves. Therefore, it’s actually more drastic to not operate. Only if the patient is already deathly ill or has a high risk of dying due to the procedure should he or she choose to forgo corrective surgery.


Treatment. Hip fractures must be treated as soon as possible, so getting to the hospital and making sure the patient is medically stable is the first step. It’s important to act quickly not only because of the pain and immobility but also because delaying surgery can cause further complications.


The type of fracture, as well as its location and severity, determines how the joint is repaired. Hips can be fixed with a pin, plate, or rod. It may even be necessary to do a partial or even full hip replacement. After the surgery is complete, it’s essential to get the patient up and moving as soon as possible to maintain mobility in the joint.


Recovery. Like with many surgeries, recovering from hip fractures involves a good amount of physical therapy. You and your rehabilitation team will focus on exercises that work on strength building and range of motion. Your home must also be prepared for a smooth recovery. This includes making sure you can get around safely and that everything you need is easily accessible. Especially in the beginning, it’s important to have someone there who can assist you with your daily activities.


Poor balance is often a contributing factor of many hip fractures. I use AMNRT testing to work with patients on improving their balance. This means safer trips to the restroom in the middle of the night and ultimately less chance of future injury! I also create a plan for strengthening patients’ bones using a dietary supplement regimen.


Risk Factors. As I stated earlier, hip fractures are often caused by falls, and older adults with osteoporosis are at a higher risk than younger people with strong, healthy bones. Of course, it’s possible for people of all ages to fracture a hip due to a high-impact trauma such as a car crash.


Hip fractures in older adults are often the result of a fall from standing height. In extreme cases of osteoporosis, hip fractures may occur simply while standing and twisting too far in one direction. Poor balance also increases your likelihood of falling, and for those with osteoporosis and poor balance, the risk of injury is compounded.