The acetabular joint, or hip joint, is the largest ball and socket joint in the body. When a break or crack in the bone occurs in the femur or acetabulum (hip bone) it is called a hip fracture, or broken hip.
A hip fracture commonly occurs in the elderly during even a seemingly harmless fall when the hip bones are weakened (i.e. in the case of osteoarthritis) and often requires hospitalization. A fracture may also be caused by a hard hit in a car accident or during a sporting activity. Fractures and hip dislocations often occur together.
A fracture in the hip can refer to a break in the femoral head or to the hip socket itself. The degree of fracture can range from a small (grade 1) fracture, to a serious (grade 4) fracture. Fractures to the femur are categorized as femoral neck fractures or intertrochanteric hip fractures. Femoral neck fractures affect the area just below the femoral head (top of thigh bone).
Besides the fracture of the bone, damage to the arteries leading to the femoral head is another concern as it can limit the necessary blood supply. Without healthy blood flow delivering the necessary nutrients and oxygen, complications such as hip osteonecrosis (also called avascular necrosis) can result. Osteonecrosis can lead to the bone marrow dying, weakening the femoral head and leaving it at risk of collapsing. Repairing the fractured bone and arteries is important to maintain the blood flow to the head of the femur.
Intertrochanteric hip fractures affect the area well below the femoral head, and as a result, are much easier to heal. This is because the fractured area is easier to treat because of its location, and blood supply to the bone is not as much of a concern.
Symptoms of a Hip Fracture
- Severe pain in the hip area
- Lower back pain
- Difficulties walking, standing or moving or complete immobility
- Swelling, stiffness and bruising in the hip area
- A visible shortening and outward turning of the leg on the affected side
- A visible change in the appearance of the hip joint
Risks and Causes of a Hip Fracture
- Osteoporosis or weakened bones - women are at greater risk as they are more prone to osteoporosis
- Age - 90% of hip fractures occur in people over age 60
- Factors that may increase the risk of a fall - dementia or an unsteady gait
- Factors that may cause bones to weaken - intestinal disorders that affect your vitamin and mineral absorption, osteonecrosis, an overactive thyroid, smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, lack of physical activity
- Weakness in the hip muscles due to inactivity
Tests for Hip Fractures
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and request an x-ray to diagnose a hip fracture and determine the type of treatment that you need. Your doctor may do an MRI to see if there is additional damage to the soft tissue of the hip that requires treatment.
Hip fractures almost always require surgery. The type of surgery will depend on the severity and location of the fracture as well as the age of the patient. A hip replacement may be performed with patients over 60 years of age who are less active. Hip replacements tend to wear out in more active patients so they are generally avoided in younger and more active elderly patients.
Femoral Neck Hip Fractures
A procedure called hip pinning involves placing several screws across the fractured femoral head. It is usually only done in younger patients, or in the case of the fractured bone being well aligned. Even when this procedure is done properly, a partial or full hip replacement may be necessary in the future.
Intertrochanteric Hip Fractures
Intertrochanteric hip fractures are usually repaired with surgery by adhering a metal plate to the shaft of the femur with several small screws. X-rays are used to get the proper alignment, and then an 3" incision is made. The surgeon will affix the metal plate along the length of the fracture, and secure it with screws.
Hip hemiarthroplasty is a term that describes a partial hip replacement. The surgeon removes the femoral head and replaces it with a metal "ball" that will sit in the hip socket. This procedure is required when the hip fracture is especially mis-aligned or severely fractured.
Treating a Hip Fracture
Using cold compression and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST®) before surgery will help to reduce the symptoms of pain and inflammation and help to improve the flow of blood to the bone and hip joint.
These therapies will help to keep the surrounding tissue as healthy as possible. This is important for 2 reasons. First, with less inflammation and healthier tissue in the joint, the surgery will be less invasive and will require less time to heal. More importantly, it will minimize your risk of suffering future hip conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis (a common condition immediately following surgery due to irritation during the procedure) and other chronic hip conditions. Cold compression therapy will help reduce pain and minimize the amount of damage that occurs to the tissue in your hip joint. Once inflammation has been reduced, BFST® will increase the amount of nutrients and oxygen that reach your bone to reduce the risk of osteonecrosis.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Compression Therapy
Within the first 72 hours of a hip fracture and following surgery, cold compression therapy is recommended to reduce pain, swelling and tissue damage. In addition, on-going cold compression treatments can reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs that can be harmful to your body.
The Back/Hip Freezie Wrap® is the cold compression tool you need to treat your hip in an effective and convenient way. It is so versatile you can also use it to treat any pain you may be experiencing in your back or legs as well.
The Back/Hip Freezie Wrap® uses a supercharged cooling gel pack, that chills in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs, giving you deep cold therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn. The medical-grade wrap delivers cold right where you need it.
Cold compression therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygen and nutrients to your hip and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy, cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive.
By limiting the amount of damage done to your tissue, you limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal your hip faster and with less pain!
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
Once the inflammation in your hip has been reduced, nourishing and strengthening your hip, lower back, upper leg and surrounding tissue is recommended. Using blood flow stimulation therapy will speed your recovery and heal your acetabular joint more completely preparing it for strengthening exercises. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to find out which exercises are appropriate for your situation.
When you stop moving your acetabular joint because it is fractured the blood flow to the hip is reduced, limiting your body's natural ability to heal itself.
When a fracture occurs, the blood supply can be affected if there is damage to the veins and arteries. Correcting this problem is essential to prevent weakening in the femoral head. Increasing the amount of blood to the femur or femoral head is essential to heal the damaged bone, tendons, ligaments, labrum and articular cartilage.
By treating your hip joint with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the hip and increase your body's natural healing power.
A Back/Hip Inferno Wrap® is the tool you need to treat your fractured hip and surrounding tissue because it speeds healing and relaxes the surrounding muscles, reducing your pain. With BFST®, tissues are safely and gently stimulated. Your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the area, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue cells to promote healing. The Back/Hip Inferno Wrap® from MendMeShop® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
In addition, the improved blood flow helps reduce the risk of atrophy in your muscles. When you stop moving your leg and hip due to pain, your muscles and other tissue can become weaker and dead cells and toxins in the area can cause further tissue deterioration - this can lead to atrophy in your quadriceps, hamstrings and other leg muscles. The Back/Hip Inferno Wrap® can also be used to treat your back, leg and other body parts with BFST®. It is an amazing healing tool that can be used to treat your entire body.
By clearing the area of toxins and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your muscle and tendon tissue, the risk of atrophy (muscle weakness and/or deterioration) is greatly reduced. Keeping your upper leg and hip joint tissue as healthy as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to improve hip strength again once your pain has gone and your injury has healed.
Would you like to discuss Hip Fractures or other conditions with an Advisor from MendMyHip?
We welcome you to call our office, toll free, at 1-866-237-9608 on weekdays between 8:00am and 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time or weekends between 11:00am and 6:00pm.
There is no cost or obligation for this service and we will do our best to help provide you with the information you need. Our extensive and on-going research could be of great benefit in helping you overcome your hip pain once and for all.
Living with hip pain is never easy and we can provide answers about causes of the pain, treatment options, potential stretches/ exercise to consider, and ways to manage the condition for the short & long term. Best of all, we can show you what worked for hundreds of our previous clients.
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With these 3 easy-to-use, pain-free, home therapies from MendMyHip, pain is significantly reduced, tissue heals faster, and there's an incredible improvement in the range of motion of your hip. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
We've helped thousands of people treat their painful injuries and conditions to get them back on the road to a pain-free life!
Our customers have tried other common hip treatments, such as cortisone injections, pain killers, physical therapy, NSAIDs, and simply staying off their feet to give their hip the rest it needs, all without lasting results - until they found our incredible therapies! In addition, our customers include physicians, professional athletes, sports trainers and coaches, physical therapists, and nurses. These professionals rely on products from MendMyHip to treat their patients, players, and themselves. Click here to read more about their experience with MendMyHip!
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before using any of our outstanding products to make sure they're right for you and your condition or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. It is recommended that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis as there are many injuries and conditions that could be the cause of your pain.