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Everything you need to know about hip fractures

A hip fracture is a break in the upper part of the thigh bone (femur), close to the hip joint. It can vary in severity from a hairline crack to a complete break that causes the bone to separate into two or more pieces.

The sensation of a hip fracture can be extremely painful, often described as a sharp or stabbing pain in the hip or groin area. Individuals may also experience:

  • Difficulty or inability to bear weight on the affected leg.

  • Swelling, bruising, or tenderness around the hip.

  • Limited range of motion in the hip joint.

  • A shorter leg on the side of the injured hip.

  • Pain that worsens with movement, such as attempting to stand, walk, or rotate the hip.


In some cases, a hip fracture may cause the leg on the affected side to appear externally rotated (turned outward) or shortened compared to the unaffected leg. Immediate medical attention is necessary if a hip fracture is suspected, as prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial for optimal recovery and outcomes.

Hip fracture prevention

  • Maintain bone health through adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D

  • Engage in weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, dancing, or strength training

  • Removing tripping hazards, installing handrails and grab bars, and using non-slip mats

  • Choose sturdy, supportive shoes with non-skid soles

  • Use walking aids like canes or walkers

  • Get regular vision check-ups


Hip fracture treatment options

  • Surgical intervention is often necessary to repair the fractured hip. Options may include internal fixation (using screws, plates, or rods) or hip replacement surgery.

  • Medications, such as analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs, are administered to manage pain and discomfort.

  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy are essential for regaining strength, mobility, and independence after surgery.

  • Using mobility aids like walkers or canes can help support the affected hip and prevent falls during recovery.

  • Making adjustments to the home environment, such as removing tripping hazards and installing handrails, can enhance safety and facilitate recovery.

  • A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D promotes bone health and aids in the healing process.

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