Having a broken hip is a common injury in the U.S., with over 300,000 adults hospitalized for it every year. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, where the head of the femur – often called the femoral head – functions as the ball, and the socket is the rounded area of the pelvis, or the acetabulum.
Most incidences of hip fractures are caused by falling sideways, and they usually affect the femur (upper leg bone). Advanced age, pre-existing chronic medical conditions, and physical inactivity increase a person’s risk of breaking a hip. It can also occur due to osteoporosis.
There are three main types of hip fractures, and the difference lies in where the break happens. Let’s talk about the various ways in which you can break your hip and who you can talk to about treatment or prevention.
Femoral Neck Fractures
The femoral neck is the most common location for hip fractures. The femoral neck is the thin section of bone between the thighbone and the femoral head, which looks like a rounded ball – creating a classic ball-and-socket joint.
This fracture can go unnoticed for a long time if it is a hairline fracture. Older adults who had a fall may experience pain in the hip area and decreased range of motion if they broke their femoral neck.
This type of hip fracture may tear your blood vessels and cut off blood circulation in the hip. Other complications that may arise from femoral neck fractures include the following:
- Avascular necrosis. This is the death of bone tissue because of a lack of blood supply caused by a broken bone or dislocated joint.
- This is the body’s inability to heal the fractured bone fragments back together. This may be due to infection, poor blood circulation, or too much movement (not enough rest).
- This complication rarely occurs with femoral neck fractures. However, when it does, it can result in osteoarthritis and avascular necrosis.
Intertrochanteric means between the trochanters, which is the curved section of the femur immediately below the femoral neck. There are two protruding sections that make room for the pelvic bone, and these sections are called trochanters. This region is the second most common location for hip fractures.
It is farther down the hip joint, so it does not tear the blood vessels as can a broken femoral neck. This fracture may happen to people of any age, but it is more common among individuals with osteoporosis.
Like femoral neck fractures, intertrochanteric fractures may also result in nonunion. Other complications include:
- There is a 20% to 30% mortality risk within a year after the fracture occurred, regardless of the treatment done.
- This condition happens when the body’s response to infection becomes out of balance, resulting in multiple organ damage.
- This is the formation of a clot inside the blood vessel, interrupting the blood flow – which may develop into a fatal pulmonary embolism.
- If the bone does not heal after surgery, the screws used to join the bone fragments can slide and back out, resulting in fracture collapse.
This type of hip fracture is less common than the first two. It is in the portion of the upper femur that receives stress, making it subject to deformity.
This type of fracture may be mistaken for an intertrochanteric fracture because of its close proximity to the region. So, it is essential to have a doctor examine the entire femur after a fall. People who already have bone problems are at risk of further complications when this fracture occurs.
In addition to nonunion and thromboembolism, other complications associated with subtrochanteric fracture include:
- This is when the fractured bone does not heal properly because of twisting the bone or misalignment. It may also result in a limp and limited hip rotation.
- Wound infection. This complication may occur with any surgical treatment, resulting in extended hospitalization. If deep infection occurs in the hip area, there is a higher risk of morbidity.
Hip Fracture Treatment in Kansas City, KS
If you experience a hard, sideways fall, or if you’re having increasing pain in the hip area, seek immediate medical care by an orthopedic doctor. Here at Midwest Orthopaedics, our board-certified orthopedic physicians have years of experience treating everything from arthritis to sports injuries to musculoskeletal pain.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling (913) 362-8317 or by completing our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get back to enjoying your active lifestyle once again!