The hips are crucial in our ability to stand, walk, run, climb stairs, and be active. One of the most common types of hip injuries is a fracture or breakage of a hip bone.
To understand what kinds of fractures can happen in the hip, we have to first understand its anatomy. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, and it includes the pelvis bone and the femur, or thighbone.
The femur has a “ball” section (femoral head) at the top, and this ball sits comfortably inside the socket of the pelvis. There, the femur can rotate, which allows the legs to move.
Types of Hip Fractures
There are two types of hip fractures that tend to occur most frequently: an intertrochanteric region fracture and a femoral neck fracture. Both places are near the top of the femur.
- Intertrochanteric Region Fracture – Below your hip, the section of your upper femur bone that juts outward is called the intertrochanteric region.
- Femoral Neck Fracture – The femoral neck is the thin section between the rounded “ball” area and the rest of the femur.
How Do Hip Fractures Happen?
The hip bones are strong, and they can take a lot of pressure. However, when too much pressure is put on them, or as the bones become more brittle with age, they can break.
Hip fractures primarily happen because of a few reasons:
Being overweight, or engaging in intense and prolonged activities, can place too much stress on the hip bones. Runners can be particularly susceptible to hip fractures.
Age-related conditions that cause bones to weaken are responsible for the vast majority of hip fractures. An example of this is osteoporosis, whereby the bones become more hollow with age – and they therefore have less mass.
When a bone has less mass, it becomes weaker and is more prone to fractures. Individuals with osteoporosis have to be extremely careful, because a simple fall can cause a fracture.
Injury due to a sports accident, a vehicular accident, or a bad fall can also cause hip fractures. There is no age that makes you immune to hip fractures – children and young adults can also suffer a broken hip if they get hurt in an accident.
Complications from a Broken Hip
If the hip fracture is severe and involves multiple pieces, or if the hip bone is weak, the bone may need to be entirely replaced. This involves putting an artificial hip (prosthesis) in place of the bone that is broken, or replacing the injured section of the hip joint.
This requires extensive surgery and rehabilitation. The artificial piece will also need to be replaced after several years due to normal wear and tear.
If hip surgery is indeed necessary to fix a hip fracture, there is a risk of infection. Hip surgeons may prescribe antibiotics and maintain a close watch to ensure no infection occurs, and that the bone heals adequately.
A broken hip can be life-threatening mainly because the person becomes much less active. The patient is more susceptible to developing bedsores or blood clots due to inactivity, so treatment is imperative.
Orthopedic Physicians in Michigan
If you have a hip fracture, pain in your hip, or arthritis, call Movement Orthopedics to discuss treatment options that will help you find relief. Call us at (586) 436-3785 to make an appointment.
If you prefer, you can also request an appointment online by filling out our online form. We look forward to serving you and helping you be active again.