Starting Early May Help Prevent Hip Fractures

Hip fractures can be common as you age. Fortunately, there are some things we can do to reduce risk for fractures. This is especially important because older adults can have life-threatening complications after surgery to treat a hip fracture, such as blood clots and heart arrhythmias.

What is a hip fracture?

A hip fracture is a break in the thigh bone of your hip joint. Your hip joint is a "ball and socket" joint, where your thigh bone meets your pelvic bone.

What causes a hip fracture?

A fall is the most common reason for a hip fracture. However, some people may unexpectedly get a hip fracture due to unforeseen circumstances such as a car accident or severe trauma. Hip fractures are more common in people over the age of 60 because our bones become thinner and weaker from calcium loss as we age.

What are the symptoms of a hip fracture?

The following are the most common symptoms of a hip fracture:

  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Inability to stand or walk
  • Bruising and swelling

How is a hip fracture treated?

Hip fractures are generally treated with surgery. Your surgeon will determine the best procedure for you, based on your situation. The goal of treatment is to provide relief from pain and enable you to resume your normal activity level.

11 Preventive Measures

We can’t always tell what will happen, but making necessary adjustments to our lifestyle and how we react to our surroundings makes a difference. Other preventive measures include:

  1. Taking prescribed medication to prevent bone loss
  2. Have a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium, including milk, yogurt, sardines and broccoli
  3. Avoid smoking
  4. Keeping objects off the stairs and floors, such as electrical cords, to prevent falls
  5. Avoid using unsteady furniture or step ladders
  6. Keep floors and stairs clutter-free
  7. Remove throw rugs
  8. Use nonslip mats in the tub and on the bathroom floor
  9. Add grab bars in the tub or shower
  10. Improve lighting
  11. Wear well-fitting shoes

Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Hip Fractures

Don’t delay seeking medical help when you have an emergency. Go to the doctor right away if you think your hip may be broken.

American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons
John Hopkins Medicine
Stanford Health

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