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Many of our patients come to us for treatment of hip fractures. While often associated with older adults, hip fractures can occur in individuals of any age. The most common cause of hip fractures are caused by traumatic injury and falls, but work-related accidents, car accidents and other forms of trauma may also cause the problem.
The majority of patients experiencing a hip fracture are women of 65 years of age or older who already have problems with conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis. These conditions will have an impact on both bone density as well as range of motion, which can create a greater chance of a fracture. Obesity, medications, physical inactivity, medications and poor overall nutrition can also be contributing factors to weaker bones and greater risk of injury.
Treatment of Hip Fractures
Surgical treatment of hip fractures is the most common. The specific type of surgery required will depend on the type of injury to the hip. It may include repositioning the broken bone and using plates, rods and screws to hold the bone in place during healing.
Another option is to replace the femur, the top of the bone of the leg and fitting into the socket part of the hip joint. This is known as a partial hip replacement and includes removal of the top of the femur and replacement with a metal prosthesis.
A full hip replacement is used if the injury includes both the top of the femur as well as the hip socket, or if arthritis or damage to the hip joint is significant even if not related to the fracture.
Movement is Essential
Our patients and their families are often surprised to find out our rehabilitation after the surgery starts with getting the patient up and into rehab as quickly as possible after the procedure. For most patients, this will be the day after surgery, but of course movement will be limited and only under the supervision of our trained therapists.
The goal of treatment post-surgery is to rebuild the muscle and strengthen the hip joint to provide full range of motion. This also stimulates blood flow to the area, helping with healing and preventing complications.
Only complete exercises are recommended by our physical therapists and your orthopaedic surgeon, and not without assistance and support. You will also be walking using some type of aid, initially a walker, and then crutches or a cane to help with balance and support and to assist in weight bearing until the muscles are strong.
Typically, inpatient care and therapy will last approximately one week after which you may be seen at home for therapy or may come into outpatient therapy. In some cases, or with elderly patients, nursing home care may be recommended for one or more months after the procedure depending on the support offered at the patient’s home and their recovery after the procedure.
Physical therapy will continue, typically two or more months, with evaluations completed by the orthopaedic surgeon to assess the implant and the healing process.