Hip Fractures

Hip Fracture Overview

A hip fracture is a break in the upper part of the thigh bone (femur) near its articulation with the pelvis. A hip fracture may make it difficult to walk, bear weight, stand or sit. An appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates (CONA) hip specialist should be made as soon as possible after an accident or injury causes hip fracture symptoms.

Symptoms & Causes:

Hip fracture symptoms usually present immediately after an accident or injury and may include:

  • Anatomical abnormality (the leg turns outward)
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty getting up off the ground
  • Difficulty bearing weight, standing or walking
  • Severe hip and/or groin pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Common hip fracture causes include:

  • A direct blow to the hip
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sports injuries

Common Treatments:

A CONA hip specialist diagnoses a hip fracture and prescribes an appropriate treatment plan. Nonsurgical treatment options treat non-displaced (the bone is still properly aligned) fractures:

  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Immobilization
  • Physical therapy

Displaced Fractures (the bone is not properly aligned) may require surgical intervention:

  1. Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF). The fractured bone is reduced and pins or a metal plate and screws hold it in place.
  2. Partial or total hip arthroplasty. The bone is removed and replaced with implants to form a new, functional hip joint.

Fractured bones healĀ and fuse to form a single solid bone over the course of several months. Physical therapy after surgery increases strength, flexibility, and function.

Diagnosis:

A CONA specialist uses a step-by-step approach to make an accurate diagnosis:

  • An accident or injury report is obtained
  • Multiple view x-rays are taken and analyzed
  • A physical examination is performed

The fracture is diagnosed, severity is determined and an appropriate treatment plan is prescribed.

**Women who have hip pain and are over the age of 50 are encouraged to make an appointment with a CONA hip specialist as soon as possible to find out if osteoporosis is the hip pain causes.**

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