Hip fractures

A hip fracture involves an injury in the upper part of the femur. The extent of the break usually depends on the forces that are involved. As for the type of surgery utilized in treating a hip fracture, it is mainly based on the bones and soft tissues involved or the degree of the fracture.

Possible causes

Hip fractures typically occur from a fall or a direct blow on the side of the hip. Some medical conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis or stress injuries can weaken the bone and make the hip prone to breakage. In severe cases, it is possible for the hip to break by simply standing on the leg as well as twisting.

What are the symptoms?

The individual with hip fracture will experience pain on the outer upper thigh or in the groin. There is significant discomfort in any attempt to bend or rotate the hip.

Hip fracture
The individual with hip fracture will experience pain on the outer upper thigh or in the groin.

In case the bone is weakened by certain diseases, the individual might notice aching in the groin or thigh area for an extended time before the break. If the bone is completely broken, the leg will appear shorter than the unaffected leg. The individual might even hold the injured leg in a still position with the foot and ankle turned outwards.

Diagnosing hip fractures

Diagnosing a hip fracture is usually done with an X-ray of the femur and hip. In some circumstances, if the individual falls and experiences hip pain, a partial fracture could not be detected on a standard X-ray. In such cases, MRI is recommended which reveals a hidden fracture. In some cases, a CT scan is performed but it is not as sensitive in detecting hip fractures.

Types of hip fractures

Generally, there are various types of hip fractures. To learn to recognize and manage bone injuries, register for first aid training here. The type of fracture depends on the area of the upper femur that is involved.

  • Intracapsular fracture occurs at the neck and head of the femur and generally inside the capsule. The capsule is the soft tissue envelope that contains the lubricating and nourishing fluid of the hip joint.
  • Intertrochanteric fracture occurs amid femoral neck as well as the inferior bony prominence known as the lesser trochanter. This is the connection area for one of the main muscles in the hip. These fractures typically cross in the areas in between the lesser trochanter and greater trochanter which is the bump felt under the skin on the outside of the hip.
  • Subtrochanteric fracture occurs below the lesser trochanter which is the area between the lesser trochanter.

In severe cases, the degree of breakage can involve more than one of these zones. Remember that this is taken into consideration when surgery is considered.

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