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A hip fracture is a life-changing event for many patients. Recovery usually requires surgery, and in some cases, it can take up to a year before a patient is back to 100%. This post looks at some of the common causes of hip fractures, what recovery looks like, and how you can prevent a hip fracture from occurring.

Causes

The majority of hip fractures occur to people who are 65 years or older, and the most common cause of the fracture is a fall. Bones tend to naturally weaken as a person gets older, so even a minor fall can have harmful effects. Young adults typically only break a hip when they are in a serious car accident or suffer a sports injury. There are a number of other risk factors that increase one’s chance of breaking a hip:

  • Smoking
  • Lack of calcium
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Symptoms

If you fracture your hip you will experience terrible pain in the area. You will also have difficulty standing on the leg where the injury occurred. In some cases, it’s possible to break your hip without even falling. However, this only happens to patients who have thin bones as a result of osteoporosis or some other condition.

Diagnosis

Doctors typically use X-rays to determine if a patient has a hip fracture. If the X-ray doesn’t reveal a fracture yet you still feel pain, then it might be necessary to get an MRI. The majority of fractures happen along the femoral neck or the intertrochanteric region.

Treatment

Surgery is usually the only way to repair a hip fracture. Once you have been diagnosed with a hip fracture, your doctor will want to act as quickly as possible. Going through surgery soon after your diagnosis is one way to possibly speed up your recovery time. In general, there are two types of hip surgery: hip repair surgery and hip replacement surgery. The first surgery involves using metal screws to or some other medium to keep the bone together as it heals. Hip replacement surgery involves replacing the bone with artificial bone.

Physical therapy is essential to proper recovery. A rehabilitation program will teach you numerous exercises that will help you regain strength and agility. Some patients have difficulty getting around after surgery and may need a walker or cane. However, attending a rehab program will give you the best chance of recovering.

Prevention

If you want to prevent a hip fracture, you need to keep your bones strong, and you need to prevent falls. Make sure you get enough calcium and exercise regularly to help your bones. You can prevent falls by making sure your home is safe. Here is a helpful list of the different ways you can prevent falls.