80 percent of breaks occur in women.
• What Is A Fracture Of The Hips?
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|What Is A Fracture Of The Hips?
It is another term for a broken hip. About 80 percent of all fractures happen to women and the average age of the patient is 80 years old. In 2006 there were 316,000 hospital admissions for hip fractures in America (75,000 in the UK), an increase of 7 percent on the previous year. Given the advancing age of our population researchers think this number could climb to half a million by 2040. 90 percent of all fractures are caused by falling, and most commonly falling sideways and landing on the hip (see osteoporosis statistics). Some medical conditions can weaken a person's bones making them more prone to fracture, this includes osteoporosis, previous injuries and cancer. In extreme cases simply standing on the leg and twisting awkwardly can break the hip.
No, hip fractures are generally split into two types:
Femoral Neck Fractures
Intertrochanteric Hip Fractures
Most incidences in older people are caused by a fall. Those diagnosed with osteoporosis will have brittle bones which makes them more vulnerable to breaks when they do fall. The reason why people fall can vary. Some might trip over a rug or a chair, or others may faint because of low blood pressure (hypotension). If an underlying medical condition caused the fall, the doctor will want to treat this as well. Fractures can occur in younger people but it is likely to be the result of an accident, such as a car crash.
Most patients will complain of pain in the general hip area as they walk. However some may only aware of of a vague pain in their buttocks, thighs, knees, groin or back. The patient may still be able to shower and dress themselves, even walk around the house. One obvious sign is a limp and sometimes the affected leg looks shorter and turns outwards. Patients with Alzheimer's disease may forget they have fallen, so it is important for their carer's to be aware of the signs of a hip fracture. A delay in diagnosis can lead to a rapid decline in quality of life in the patient and increases the risk of morbidity.
If you think you may have fractured your hip, call an ambulance or ask someone to drive you the hospital. While waiting for the ambulance try to sit still and stay warm. Cover yourself with a blanket. Avoid eating or drinking anything. When the ambulance arrives you may be given a pain killer and transported to the ambulance by stretcher.
If you have gone to a hospital you will be quickly assessed in the A&E department. You may be given more painkillers and asked a variety of questions including:
• How severe is the pain?
Next you will be sent for a standard X-ray which will confirm if a fracture has occurred, and if so, in what part of the hip. If the doctor cannot see a fracture a CT scan or MRI scan may be ordered as they can offer more detail and can pick up small hairline fractures. The doctor will need to rule out other possible causes. For example a stress fracture can have the same symptoms as a hip fracture but pain is generally worse at night. Other possible causes includes osteoarthritis which can cause hip pain and limping that progressively worsens over time. Other diagnostic possibilities include:
Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, the patient will be referred to orthopedics for treatment. Most people will required surgery to fix the broken bone. The type of surgery will depend on which fracture has occurred. Non-surgical options such as traction are only considered where the risks of surgery are too high (for example is the patient is very elderly or has a serious illness).
Femoral Neck Fractures
Total Hip Replacement
Within 24 hours of surgery the patient will begin working with a physiotherapist. They will be helped to walk with the aid of a walker and encouraged to try range of motion and strengthening exercises. Hospital stays usually last one week, depending on whether or not the patient has an able carer to go home to. Some hospitals even have specialized geriatric-orthopedic rehabilitation wards especially for elderly people who have sustained injuries. At home an occupational therapist may visit the patient to offer advice on everyday useful techniques, such as how to dress, bath and cook while recovering from the injury. They may also recommend arthritis equipment or aids, which will be useful under the circumstances.
Infection: Pneumonia or infections at the site of wound are possible. This is treated with antibiotics.
If a patient delays diagnosis and treatment their risk of morbidity is increased significantly. Even then, 2 in 10 patients die within a year of their fracture. Furthermore, nearly 25 percent of patients who lived independently before their fall will need to stay in a nursing home for a year after injury. For this reason, hip fractures where possible need to be avoided in old age.
The best way to prevent a hip fracture is to reduce your chance of falling. To do so:
1. Take care of your bones, See: osteoporosis prevention.
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